In order to embark on the future of an Institute, it becomes paramount to scan through the trajectory of an institute and its formative circumstances. The long evolution of KRVIA has witnessed a systematic shift of pedagogy over a period of twenty-eight years. The emerging pedagogy is finely grained in its long-term philosophical foundation laid by the founding director. This is perhaps the time to trace the history of pedagogic trajectories and move with regards to the larger rationale towards an emergence of a new academic paradigm.
KRVIA was the product of a liberal economic policy in education. During its formative years, the founder director set the tone of the institute’s pedagogy. The formative circumstances of KRVIA had to deal with the existing dogmatic structure of evaluation-based academics, undermining the enabling and engaging-based academics. The founding director enabled the process with fresh ideological questions on Indian Aesthetics. The teaching methods revolved around the question of representation and aesthetics. The architecture emerged as an assemblage of various forces that were assumed to be Indian. This phase also founded the various theoretical discourses around global architectural theories and its relevance in the Indian context. The emergence of inter-disciplinary understanding, the Encounter lecture series and the annual journal (Reflections) are important milestones that have formed KRVIA as an important centre for architectural learning.
The second phase witnessed the shift of aesthetic-based pedagogy to context-based inquiry. Architecture was seen as a product of contextual expression and object of naïve urbanism. The architecture was seen as an artifact of the urban place. KRVIA also witnessed the de-centralization of academics with respect to the academic decision-making process. This phase enabled the consolidation of subject expertise and concentration of discipline inquiry.
The third phase took the urban agenda forward where the architectural inquiry constantly sought for embedded conditions through a multi-disciplinary approach. The rise of multi-disciplinary faculty has enriched individuals with subject expertise. The naïve contextual urbanism is now seen as a manifestation of the urban realm where the sphere of Architecture constantly found itself negotiating with urban forces. The most important project that the institute took under in this phase were several international consortiums and research projects. The formation of the post-graduate program is an outcome of all these endeavours. The discourse on architecture began to create a significant bridge between profession and discipline.
The discipline discourse on architecture and urbanism were staged around four fundamental domains i:e knowledge domain, practice domain, critical domain and regional domain. The naïve contextualism paved the way for a regionalism discourse.
However, standing at current positions, one may raise fundamental questions which are apparent and necessary, simultaneously because the pedagogic structure must address the unfolding reality and emergence of new paradigms and technology.
These questions are:
Does the multi-disciplinary approach paralyze the question of design and aesthetics?
Is the urban question on architecture, claustrophobic?
Is the sphere of architecture reducing? Is it a global phenomenon?
How is it relevant to India?
The KRVIA vision for the coming years is embedded in the above stated questions. Hence it is necessary to imagine the pedagogic structure on this existing foundation and yet be forward and outward looking. The trans-disciplinary narrative perhaps can re-configure the existing edifice and the critical regional question becomes a force to reckon with, that would encompass the conceptual framework drawn with diverse forces. The future of architectural pedagogy is at the hands of individuals with newly cultivated knowledge anticipating manifestation at various scales. It is a stage where pedagogy needs to climb the ladder of epistemological understanding through various disciplines and build a conceptual framework for architectural learning (trans-disciplinary learning). The epistemic understanding through a transdisciplinary mode allows fresh inquiry into the role of architecture, architectural and urban questions.
The changing times and new learning methods has challenged the existing methods of teaching, learning and time. Perhaps it is time for a change in spatial infrastructure and its physical manifestation. As a result, education methods and modes are changing dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, wherein teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. These changes that have come about now are here to stay for a while and we have to see it as an opportunity and also as range of alternatives. However, it is important to upgrade architectural learning with resources in the form of physical and spatial means. The existing infrastructure at KRVIA is equipped to sustain an equitable & inclusive, enabling & sustaining a physical as well as e-learning ecosystem.