(As told to Vidyartha)
I decided about my career very early in life. I must have been in class 5 or 6 and we used to play hide and seek in buildings. I found buildings very interesting. So I decided that I want to do something with buildings. But even when I started the course, I did not know what an architect typically does. A few months into it, I realized that it was a lot different from what I thought it was.
A lot of people tell you that you need to be good in art. But architecture is not just about art. It is an amalgamation of art, science and mathematics. You need to have a good sense of proportion. And good people skills – whatever you are creating is for people and therefore you need to be able to understand people well.
After my 5-year architecture course, I worked for two years and then went to the US to specialize in Urban Studies. I then worked in the US for about 4 years, and seven years ago came back to India and set up our own firm.
Architecture I feel is a little different from other courses. You need to have an aptitude for architecture, or you need to really want to become an architect. Otherwise you may find the course a little difficult in the beginning. In the first two years of the course, you will be able to decide whether or not you want to be in this profession. In a typical class, there will be about two people who quit the course because they don’t come prepared for architecture. But on the other hand, if you enjoy architecture, it is a beautiful profession to be in; it is there with you for life.
Architecture is one of the earliest of professions. Whether you look at Harappa or Mohenjo-Daro civilizations, there is someone who has put in their creative skills to build structures. It is a profession that earns you a lot of respect. You can do a lot of good to society if you want to. You get to meet people from different walks of life – people who trust you to create their dream project for them, something that is going to stay with them for a lifetime.
(Mini Gopinath is an architect with her own architectural firm)