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There seems to be a lot of info on here regarding work in China but less so on India.
I am interested in working in India and am hoping there might be some members may be able to share their experiences and offer any advice as to how one might go about it. The usual questions in these types of threads would apply, eg recommended firms, cost of living and work hours etc it is all of interest to me.
I recently got my registration here in Australia and the bulk of my experience is in residential which makes me a little nervous as I'm not sure how this might translate to the work that is happening over there and therefore how likely I am to get a job.
I read an article about Studio Mumbai which mentioned they sometimes take interns, this is really my ideal position but in th elikely event this doesn't happen India appeals to me either way.
It's great to see you are interested in working in India. It is a land of many opportunities for young professionals in our field at the moment. Given that you are a registered architect from Australia and experienced in residential design, your market value would certainly be high and I encourage you to apply in different cities based on the kind of work that you want to do.
A majority of the most interesting firms are based out of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. There is also a city called Auroville, which has for the past many years attracted a plethora of young designers interested in alternative design and practice.
Since you are a qualified architect, you shouldn't be applying for the position of an intern architect. Make sure you are confident about this because if not, firms may tend to take advantage of you.
Generally, offices follow regular 8 hour work patterns and the usual overtime night-before-submission days. The pay is not great to start of with, but it definitely depends on your experience and qualifications. For example, a registered architect in India with 2 years worth of work experience and just an undergraduate degree may pull in Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 35,000 a month (US $600 to 700). This may vary a lot however, depending on the kind of firm you are working with (design-based/commercial/small private business/large corporate office). Also, based on expenses, Mumbai would seem to be the most expensive to live in, followed by Delhi and Bangalore. Finding cheap housing would be a breeze - Indians are knowing for ever-helpful and accomodating nature.
Though there are a lot of firms doing terrible, builder-driven and hence dreadfully ugly work, there are some really interesting firms that have opened up, especially in the past few years, by expats who have worked abroad and are now setting up base in India.
This is a brief list of some of the firms I find interesting. They encompass a broad variety of work types.
Best of luck!
Thanks for your response Citizen Walker. I have heard of Auroville and have seen Anupama Kundoo speak here in Australia a few times and have always wanted to visit. I think my preference at this stage would be to be based in Mumbai to get the full modern India experience. I recognise some of the names there from some of the 'India Issues' of various design/architecture publications recently, Architectural Review, Wallpaper etc
Are you currently working in India?
I wouldn't recommend to work in that firm.
Which firm? Anupama Kundoo?
I've spent the last 4 and a half years living and working in India running my own firm - originally from the US - and I would say for most people this is a very difficult place to work, from many angles. My transition involved learning a whole new way of building, and then on top of that, construction skills vary wildly from place to place. Lots of offices have a 6 day work week (we don't) and expect a lot from staff. Most other architects I've worked with are also way behind technology wise. Still using Autocad like a digital pencil - no xrefs, no blocks, no layouts... And expect to get drawings from consultants with a digital "EDUCATION LICENSE" all over the file.
In the short time I've been here salaries for staff have jumped fast. A few months ago we were hiring and 3 people all with 2 years experience we re seeking Rs.40,000 ($725) and up. Developers are paying really well for architects, so if you want to just experience India and get paid well, go work for a big developer in Mumbai or Delhi. Though your job will be fighting with contractors to get the projects built and interpreting drawings for your bosses.
There are interesting firms in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad. Pune, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad would be the next level - some good firms, but a lot fewer than the other metros.
I think most foreigners would have trouble with the life outside of the office - the day to day living. Especially if you are alone.
Studio Mumbai is great and have carved out a really wonderful niche for highly detailed houses - they have their own construction crew and spend a lot of time on site making sure everything is just right.
Some other great ones:
Vir Mueller (Delhi)
I've returned to India after 10 years of working in US and find the architectural profession here has not kept up with times. Most of the above comments on working styles are absolutely true. I lead a design team functioning as owner's representatives, interviewing external design firms for our projects, and find it frustrating to know most firms do not follow CAD standards. CD drawings (no concept of set) are provided as and when required on construction site.
Some of the firms listed above are good, the ones I know are hundred-hands and would definately recommend that in Bangalore. Another good one with expats is KGD, also in Bangalore.
Move! And please move as quickly as possible.
If you do not like the U.S.A., please leave!
The original poster was from Australia...
Thanks for your reply Louis, some very helpful info there. I hope you don't mind this on here, but I am assuming your firm is Research Design Office? You've actually been in my India 'favourites' for a while!
I spent some time in India about ten years ago as a traveller so feel I have a good understanding about some of the day to day issues you mentioned.
I'm particularly interested in India as it is going through a similar growth period to China but is rarely discussed in the same way China is when it comes to architecture or construction. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this and how you see India's development playing out over the next decade, particularly whether the infamous Indian bureaucracy will stifle this.
Yes, that is my firm. I appreciate the kind words. We are being featured in Indian Architect & Builder this month.
I think it is easy to lump India and China into the same category, however, I think China is much further ahead in terms of Architecture and Construction. Economic growth isn't the best metric and huge portions of India - certain states and regions - are lagging far behind the Mumbais, Delhis, and Bangalores of the country. I think that gap - between China and India - will shrink over the next 10-15 years, but it's a pretty sizable gap right now. As someone living in India, visiting China is like being in the future. It seems unattainable in many ways.