One can gauge the power of architecture by the fact that even though kings have been forgotten, the architectural splendour of their times continues to mesmerise.

Life is all about beauty and elegance. From time immemorial beautiful structures have been mesmerising the mankind and the historical structures around the world are fine examples of that. The kingdoms have vanished and kings have been forgotten but the architectural splendour of their times continue to mesmerise us even after thousands of years.

That's the power of architecture. No wonder, architects are revered and respected. And in the modern age where everyone yearns for something different, Architects are the professionals who provide that difference. With their subtle touches to massive creations they leave lasting impressions. Architecture as a study option is no wonder growing. After engineering and medicine, it is one profession that is being lapped up by youngsters and the world is opening opportunities for them in abundance.

Realising the potential and the need to provide quality training Andhra Pradesh established Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University (JNAFAU) – the first architecture specific university in the country. The University offers Bachelor, Masters and Ph.D. programmes in Architecture apart from various courses relate to Fine Arts, Planning and Photography.

“An architect must be creative and practical, and have an understanding of structure, materials, aesthetics, costs, regulations, the construction industry and the personal tastes and needs of a client,” says D. Vijay Kishore, Principal, School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), JANFAU. “The wide range of activities in the practice of architecture allows individuals to specialise in the areas where they have the most skill and expertise, but all architects must be proficient in all areas of the profession,” says P. Padmavathi, Vice Chancellor, JNAFAU.

Architecture is offered as a five-year full time course with the final year spent along with a practising architect. There are 700-odd seats in eight architecture colleges in the State and the admissions are based on the National Aptitude Test for Architecture (NATA), an online test introduced a few years back. Among the eight colleges five are under the JNAFAU while two others are under Andhra University and Acharya Nagarjuna University. The course fee is Rs. 31,000 in the convenor quota and Rs. 95,000 in the management quota. However, the fee at the SPA, JNAFAU is Rs. 10,000 per year as it is a university college. About 15 per cent seats are available for foreign nationals and NRIs above the available seats.

Dr. Vijay Kishore says admissions for this year will be done on August 30 and 31 and students who take NATA online test before August 17 will be eligible for admissions. The test can be taken at eight test centres in the State and they include JNAFAU, Sri Venkateswara College of Architecture, Madhapur; CSI Institute of Technology, Secunderabad; Andhra University, Vishakapatnam; S.A.R. College Of Architecture, Vijaywada; Vaishnavi College of Architecture, Madhapur, Masterji College of Architecture, Hanamkonda. NATA scores are valid for two years.

The subjects that are taught include Architectural Design, Building Construction, Building Materials and Sciences, Architectural Drawing and Graphics, History of Architecture, Workshop Practice, Landscape Design, Structural Mechanics and Theory of Structure, Surveying and Levelling, Building Services & Equipment, Humanities, Estimating & Costing and Principles of Human Settlements.

Further specialised elective subjects that can be opted during the Masters course include, Housing, Urban Design, Conservation Architecture, Interior Design, Building Management, Landscape Design, Urban Planning, Regional planning, Transport Planning, Environmental Planning and Product Design.

Dr. Vijay Kishore says employment opportunities are increasing due to various factors. The buoyant building industry and promise of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region open up lots of opportunities. But people with visually creative abilities and strong base in aesthetic and technical requirements can make a mark at the highest level. For additional information students can check the following websites – www.jnafau.ac.in, www.coa-india.org, www.iia-india.org, www.nid.edu, www.nac-india.org and www.nicmar.org.