How Multi-Disciplinary Approach Is Sharing Space With Architecture & Design Thinking Skills

Neha Bhatt, Associate Dean - Academics, Anant National UniversityLocated in Ahmedabad, Anant National University offers a wide range of educational courses in the areas of architecture, interior design and urban planning.

Architectural foundation and the design conceptualized in its making, bridges contemporary socio-economic challenges, and Ahmedabad-based Anant National University inculcates problem solving skills right from the root level for edifying the solutionaries of tomorrow. In an exclusive conversation with siliconindia, Neha Bhatt (Associate Dean - Academics, Anant National University) elucidates on the need for revolutionary thinking and multidisciplinary approach to built economically viable and environmentally feasible structures.

What are your thoughts on design thinking being a catalyst in solving complexities, and how is multi-disciplinary approach carving the niche of specialization?
Designing is not just about making beautiful things; it's about problem solving, and design thinking is a process that bifurcates complexities into multiple angles and creates space for core understanding. Be-sides designing next generation app and technology, this approach is crucial for design education and we, as the interpreters, must apply and execute it in different frames for simplified and sustainable results. Design thinking application is significant in India as well as worldwide for solving social problem, creating beneficiary policies and developing better schools inclusive of technology and in-person interactions. If we train students in proper design thinking with logical, methodological, strategic and comprehensive skills, their ability to compete with workers globally as industry-ready professionals will certainly explore new boundaries.

The amalgamation of multidisciplinary approach in design education frames canvas portraying the need for holistic learning and connected experience. Since these skills vary from person to person, cross-disciplinary courses predominantly assist in etching key strength of communal learning. Career starts when you speak the similar language of history, identify industry players and explore market because sky is the limit sometimes and inspiration fuels the rocket of specialization. Anything from music, art or history can inspire an architect to explore the unexplored and choice based system in core curriculum constructs the foundation of being conversant in everything.

The architecture & design industry is witnessing a revolutionary change in terms of automation, space sharing, materialistic innovation and many more. Share your insights on this changing environment.
Architecture is ever-evolving and ever-changing. Trends like automation, space sharing and materialistic innovation are moving towards mainstream and real examples are coming under spotlight. The concept of shared workspace with its multi-dimensional designs and prominent facilities suffices all requisites of an entrepreneur in making and this culture booming is to no limits. All you need is an eccentric idea, basic investment and there you are ­ a contender transforming ideas into edifices. The challenge, however, for next generation designers and architects is how to rethink, lever-age and structure these innovations, sweeping into our culture, to the next level of design thinking. The way of sharing information is not technology
based, but the underlying system can be adapted to work at scaled-up level.

The national, regional and global perspective critical to innovative ideas, in actual fact, roots back in some of prominent places in India. The traditional architecture in villages is robust as compared to contemporary buildings that fall apart within a limited time period. And if not fostered properly, these centuries-old roots will soon erode into the soil. So, the need for mining the richness of our heritage, knowledge and wisdom for building great structures is alarming bells. If we continue looking at inside-outside of metropolis only, the holistic approach will certainly narrow our focus and problem solving capabilities. Experts having vernacular architecture knowledge are digging best examples in remote villages to innovate and up-skill modern architectural design.

The inclination of educational needs towards a professional direction holds great potential of inviting international investments and opportunities in the national boundaries

High-end luxury living is be-coming less popular and a new model of affordable housing is emerging. What strategies can be leveraged to inculcate this conceptual change while imparting architectural and design education?
The advent of affordable housing has certainly affected high-rise urban living. Under such conflicting concerns, designing and building solutions in a context that works for people affected by it defines the integration of conceptual change into architecture & design education. Assimilation of housing, politics and household income often evolve into tougher combinations that require sensitive insights befitting the economical scale. Setting an ethical conduct with the affluent and deprived promotes a more design productive approach. However, if you are not looking at conflicting concerns, your solution is missing opportunities to come-up with the best possible answer.

Besides affordable housing, high-rise luxury living opens an arena for innovation, for instance, by converting little balconies into giant plateaus for communal interaction and economizing the budget simultaneously, hence optimum use of common spaces. Similarly, affordability is synonymous to connectivity and redefining housing in terms of these directly related causes is important. This kind of multi-dimensional comprehensive thinking is significant for developing critical thinking skills and aligning with real-time examples.

While imparting conceptual knowledge, what practices are put in action for practical learning and hands-on experience?
Clearly, emphasis on site visits and out-of-the-classroom participation is must and project-based studios add volumes to practical experience. Collaborative learning and group projects instil decision-making abilities, camaraderie and opens opportunities for real-world application. In practical setting, the bounce of studio-oriented group projects taps the team to think for as many possible solutions, negotiate with ideas and come-up with the best solution on which they all can agree. While pursuing this path with no limitations, comprehensive thinking skills widen the scope for reassessments and reformations through understanding, interaction and research. It's not about redesigning the space; it's about solving the problem since problem solving challenges are crux for practical learning. The ultimate goal is to pen down a solution, no matter how you derive it.

Nowadays, upskilling & holistic knowledge is essential to stand at par and sustain success. What plan of action must be prepared to align education with this trend and prepare industry-ready professionals?
Architecture and design thinking is discipline, and discipline raises the bar to excellence. If seen through a foreign lens, India is growing to-wards excellence in professionalism and business practices. Though the best, most coveted professionals are produced in the country and companies from across the world want to bracket them in respective sectors, the only stumbling block fencing such opportunities is the non-alignment of professional principles with global business standards. The inclination of educational needs towards a professional direction holds great potential of inviting international investments and opportunities in the national boundaries.

Setting a common foundation for multi-disciplinary learning builds up a holistic comprehensive set of skills and thinking abilities. Whether you are pursuing architecture or product design, the challenge is to confront myriad of instructors belonging to different disciplines, contradict each other while teaming together and discover your specializations amidst this environment. The legacy of pursuing predetermined line of education is evident over decades and there is a dire need for makeshift towards elective based learning to evolve into multi-disciplinary thinkers having expertise in communication and leadership skills. That's the focus that must get into every business.