Chitkara School of Planning and Architecture: A Pioneer of Architectural Education

To promote research, innovation and entrepreneurship in collaboration with professionals and industries, the institute inculcates high moral, ethical and professional standards amongst students to contribute towards building a skillful society through an academic process aimed at achieving excellence and, through an active teacher-student-industry collaboration.

Established in 2004, Chitkara School of Planning and Architecture is a constituent of Chitkara University Punjab. Located along the Chandigarh – Patiala National Highway, the institute is within easy reach of Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Ambala and Patiala. It is committed to excellence and known for its vibrant academic environment, a distinguished faculty, brilliant students and, proactive collaboration with industry.

Chitkara University has secured a rank of 15th in “National Ranking – 2018: Private & Deemed Universities,” and is leading the architectural study industry with its students securing top honors at several forums, including the award for Best Outstanding Paper at Asia-Pacific International Model United Nations Meet, Bangkok (2013), several accolades at the Annual and Zonal Meets of National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA); NIASA Awards For Excellence in Under-Graduate Architectural Thesis (2014 & 2015); INTACH Heritage Awards for Excellence in Documentation (2016), top positions at the Earthquake Resistant Design Competition at IIT, Kanpur (2017); the Interior Design Competition by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) (2017), INSDAG Award for “Innovative Design of Elevated Cycle Track in Steel” (2018) and, the competition on “SMART Strategies for maintaining the Culture and Identity of Historic Cities” organized by UNESCO-Indian Heritage Cities Network (2018). Interestingly, CSPA is also one of the 5 schools selected pan-India by Kajaria Ceramics Ltd. for their annual “Kajaria Meritorious Student Award for Architecture” (a cash prize of INR 100,000.00  per student) to the top three students of the B.Arch. Program.

Extraordinary Programs of the Innovative Institute

Chitkara University hosts over 76 Programs in 15 diversified Schools/Departments, with around 12,000 students and faculty drawn from various parts of India. It also has an active collaboration with 137 universities abroad, enabling people from various nationalities and ethnicities to live and work together. A “Global Week” is organized annually when faculty from foreign partner university conduct week-long workshops with Chitkara students, offering a host of cross-disciplinary academic and co-curricular events.

The extraordinary courses and CSPA’s excellent standpoint in the architectural education industry have led students from various parts of India, Nepal and Bhutan to join the institution. The University conducts a regular “Semester Exchange Program”, where students from Spain spend one to two semesters at Chitkara for study purposes. In addition, collaborative workshops with students and faculty of some French and Japanese Universities have become an annual feature.

Chitkara School of Planning and Architecture runs a 5 – year B. Arch. Degree Program, with an annual intake of 120 students. The Program is organized in two stages. ‘Stage One’ builds essential skills and sensibility required to work with professional architects. Stage Two focuses on state-of-the-art practices, while also preparing students for graduate studies and research. An intensive 32-week long Professional Internship separates the two stages.

CSPA has designed its curriculum in such a way that it promotes a human-centric, context-specific design approach while addressing challenges of technology and issues of environmental sustainability, drawing upon wisdom of the past while adapting to current and changing needs of the industry. Its vision is to provide the necessary creative, technical and soft skills, coupled with ample interface with the profession, and make its students technologically proficient, socially sensitive and environmentally responsible.

International Links and Collaboration of CSPA

The university organizes various week-long workshops annually where numerous visiting faculties from its global partners conduct lectures and workshops with students of CSPA to show pathways leading towards success. It has an active Semester Exchange Program with Universities of Alicante and Barcelona inSpain. The Student Mobility Program under “Erasmus +” has also facilitated an all-paid Semester Exchange at Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey. Workshops have been organized with the École nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais and École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Toulouse, France and, the Tokyo University of Science. Plans for further collaborative research on areas of mutual interest are on the anvil.

Expert Faculties to Help Students Achieve their Dreams

The school has a large body of professionally proficient, motivated and committed Core Faculty, along with a band of experienced practitioners as Visiting Faculty. Their cumulative expertise ranges from Heritage Conservation, Construction Management, Disaster Risk Management, Interior Architecture, Sustainable Design, to Urban Design and Urban Planning – thus offering a comprehensive, wholesome resource base and, providing an in-house facility for students to constantly upgrade their competence. The Faculty is actively involved in research and publication, with regular participation in national and international events. Constant in-service training keeps them abreast with latest developments in the profession, as well as in education technology. Several among the faculty have been awarded for their extraordinary achievements and contributions.

About the Leader of the Institute

Chitkara School of Planning and Architecture is currently headed by Prof. Kiran Joshi, an academic of long standing, an accomplished author and internationally acclaimed expert of Modern Heritage. She has been felicitated for her pioneering research and publications on Chandigarhby Chandigarh Administration, awarded the “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” for her work on Le Corbusier’s Heritage by the French Government and, the “Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to Architectural Education” by the A3 Foundation.

Besides intensifying national and global collaborations with academia and the industry, her major focus has been towards promoting cross-disciplinary learning and facilitating exposure to emerging career options. Efforts have also been made towards building up a corpus of knowledge of traditional sustainable built resources, sensitizing students towards disadvantaged sections of society and, promoting an inclusive approach to design. Not only does she showcase an interesting professional career, she shares that same level of expertise with her faculty and, passes on the excellence to her students.

Exposes Students to the Industry for an Exceptional Career

The university offers a curriculum which directly connects the students to the industry where they are going to work in their near future. Besides frequent interaction with professionals from different streams, an intensive 32-week internship and, preparing students for research and teaching, special efforts are made to introduce newly emerging career options such as architecture journalism, architectural photography, and heritage tourism among many others. In addition, the institute hosts numerous on-campus incubators such as the “Explore Hub” providing multiple opportunities of entrepreneurship.

Grants Financial Support for Meritorious Students

Chitkara School of Planning and Architecture offers financial grants for meritorious students, including sponsorships for participation in advanced/ extension courses and various competitions in India. Most interestingly, fully-funded semester exchanges are facilitated through the Erasmus Plus program, as and when available. Soft loans and “Earn-while-you-Learn” schemes are also available on a “Merit-cum-Means” basis for funding Educational Tours and other similar activities.

Research and Publication Related Activities

Right from the beginning of the institution’s formation, CSPA has nurtured a culture of impactful research and publication. Besides “Concepts”, the annual publication of student’s work, the institute also brings out “Creative Space”, the bi-annual refereed Architecture Journal of Chitkara University (ISSN Print: 2321-3892; ISSN Online: 2321-7154), which is indexed in several renowned journal indexing agencies such as SHERPA, SCILIT, ZENODO, Scientific Indexing Service, Research Bible, Mendeley, Academic keys, Directory of Research Journals Indexing, CrossRef, ISSUU, Google Scholar and, CiteFactor.

Maintains a Culturally Enriched Atmosphere for Students’ Well-Being

Besides organizing cultural events on national days and Annual Students’ Fests, CSPA takes great pride in commemorating birth anniversaries of Master Architects  every month through thematic competitions of poster-making, sketching, quizzes, costume parades, etc. Of special importance here is the “Le Corbusier Day” celebrated every year in October with full gusto. Another annual event unique to CSPA is a week-long Design Charette held each July, in which each participating group involves vertical integration of students thereby fostering peer-learning along with teamwork and out-of-the-box thinking. Yet another tradition observed is the annual celebration of the World Heritage Day in April, when the students organize a public exhibition of the historic places documented by them during the year and, also visit neighboring village schools to sensitize them on their region’s natural and cultural resources.

“Words of Trust”

“CSPA laid the strong foundation of my career and personal growth. Today, I am confidently leading my firm ‘SB Architects’ and handling projects ranging from Residential to Commercial, Offices to Retail and Interiors to Turnkey Projects.”

-Charanpreet Singh, an alumnus of CSPA’s first Batch of 2004

“Learning Architecture requires mentors who work tirelessly towards the success of their protéges. CSPA’s faculty helped me to achieve laurels at NIASA Awards 2014 and motivated me for further education in Environmental Design. Today I work in Toronto designing Condos and can’t thank my mentors enough for this career.”

-Varunpreet Singh, an alumnus of Batch 2009

“I have been part of the CSPA family for the last 8 years, first as a student and now as a part of the visiting faculty. The skills and education I received at CSPA got me into a top-rated graduation school in the U.S. and has helped me grow in my small practice as an Architect. As a faculty I am trying to impart the same values now to my students.”

-Rishabh Gandhi, an alumnus of Batch 2009

“I am a proud alumna of CSPA. All the teachers at CSPA have always been a support throughout my journey from being a clueless young student to an individual having my own identity. I feel highly obliged for being a part of this institute where I have been polished in a way that I can stand out independently and confidently”.

-Ms Surbhi Modi, a recent graduate of 2016

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