OFFBEAT Here's an academy that encourages not just students but also the hearing and speech impaired to enroll for its course in architectural communications

The Dhrishticone Architectural Communications office in Adyar buzzes with conversation ranging from light-hearted coffee talk to architectural jargon doing the rounds in front of computers displaying complicated designs. In a far corner sits Venkatesh, submerged in angles and tangents, seemingly oblivious to the chaos around him. Prodding further, one is told that he is hearing and speech-impaired but is one of the ‘best employees', according to boss Vijay Bargotra.

“This boy came from Vellore with a basic training in software skills. Someone asked me to give him a chance and he bowled me over with his capabilities. I decided that he must be motivated and now he's doing really well here,” Vijay Bargotra says, adding, “He inspired me to start Dhrishticone Academy, where I think speech and hearing-impaired people with an artistic inclination will get an opportunity to build a successful career.”

The Dhrishticone Academy will begin on October 14 with a one-year certificate course on architectural communication for architects and aspiring students.

While Vijay will take care of the artistic aspects of the course, two trained staff will conduct the rest of the sessions and Venkatesh will be an instructor for other hearing and speech-impaired students.

“This course is for everyone who is interested in being a liaison between the client and an architect. Usually, the client doesn't understand our sketches. Architectural communication is to transform those into visuals that he can relate to. There aren't many good communicators in the building industry today. We have all the software necessary but don't know how to see through them. We will teach them how to see a drawing visually,” reiterates Vijay.

The artist-turned-architect also believes that people with hearing or speech impairment are innately good at this job as they are void of distractions and focus better on the task.

“In this course, the challenge is to communicate effectively. It's no different for anyone as compared to someone who can't hear. At the end of the day, Venkatesh surpassed his reference and if others work hard, they can too. You don't even need to be an architect to communicate visually. You just need to be artistic. The students will even be given personality training at the end of the course to make sure their confidence levels are high,” he says.

But Vijay feels that having Venkatesh around has perhaps awakened his inner calling. “You know how people always talk about their inner calling. I think I've finally found mine,” he smiles.

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