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Architecture: Why is it most misunderstood? Prof. Vishwamitter - Manish Jain - 09-30-2017

Architecture: Why is it most misunderstood?

[b]Prof. Vishwamitter[/b]

 Architecture is a unique profession that interprets human psyche, intentions, philosophy and dreams and translates them into three-dimensional artifacts of built forms to support the purpose and function of human existence. It is a profession that touches the very fabric of life, and it may not be difficult to realize that this profession is as old as the beginning of human life on this planet. In its most archaic context, when the life was lived in forest grottos and caves etc. a necessity of shelter (adopted or adapted enclosures) was driven by a desire to have a secure space that could ensure a safety from the elements of nature and unanticipated ferocious behavior of animals in the mysterious and unexplored environment around. This pattern of living represented a phase when individuals or groups of people lived their lives as food gatherers and had not acquired knowledge of building materials for making enclosures built to their specific requirements. A dramatic change, however, occurred when people learnt the need to live in communities with a focus on food production in the hinterland. A nomadic life of food gatherers changed to a sedentary life of food produces. Consequently, a settled permanency of people on ground ensured a cooperative and mutual interdependence, (this typically evolves a need to have a social, economic and organizational systems in place) in a bid to produce more. This marks a very important stage in the emergence of a concept of architecture as known today - a phenomenon of human organizations, production and construction simultaneously appeared to herald a dawn of human civilization. 
Architecture, since then, had been on a steady path of progress. It is however interesting to know that as architecture passed through various stages of development, it had always remained a subject of great interpretations, primarily because of human skill of inventiveness of three dimensional forms and an inherent inquisitiveness for enquiries to explore the potential of human mind itself.

As the reality stands, it is certainly an independent identity as a profession, however it is always misunderstood or at best the least understood. It is baffling that a professional activity that is as old as humanity itself is yet not able to find a firm place of authenticity and authority within the societal context. Following are identifiable reasons for this state of affairs:
1. Preferences of people within the expectations and attitudinal level of society itself.
2       Non-aggressive and highly dispensable authorities of the architects within the priorities   set by the society (unlike, law and medical professions), which makes architects to work under a cover of options, that best suit them for the practice activity of the architecture.
  Some recognizable respectability to the profession of architecture has certainly come in with the establishment of the Council of Architecture in terms of responsibilities and accountability of architects. Often some architects express dissenting voices about the norms and standards imposed by the Council of Architecture. However, what is not appreciated is that it is the prime responsibility of the Council to ensure that professional practice and academic teaching of architecture perform within the prescribed norms and standards. It is time therefore that architects line up collectively to hold the dignity and sanity of the professional mission that the council is entrusted with by the Act.
It is amazingly unbelievable that architecture still suffers from the biases of people themselves although architecture is of prime concern to all. The bias starts at the level of the admission of the students to architecture course. It is alarming to find that a majority of students join the course of architecture because of non –availability of alternative choices, or perhaps no other choice at all. I think we all understand what it means in terms of acceptability or respectability of architecture as a ‘no or low’ preferred choice.
     There is certainly some reason and room for introspection by architects themselves to undertake a self – searching (and also a soul – searching) evaluation as to why the profession of architecture does not appear to be  (or appeal to be) a high option among the students as a preferred choice for a career.

What we need to appreciate is to know:
(1)What architecture is,
(2)What architecture is not, and
(3)What architecture ought to be?
We may look into these enquiries to establish architecture as an  inalienable and unmistakable identity of its own to create its relevance  that people can relate to.

Architecture incorporates a multiplicity of roles played by other professions (Civil, electrical Mechanical, Mathematics, Economics, Sciences, sociology, philosophy and environment/ ecology etc) that sometimes, it becomes difficult to know whether architecture alone is a professional identity and entity by itself, or is it a professional identity within or around the periphery of other professions.
The veil of this mysticism, however, disappears when it is realized that the identity or entity of architecture depends on the dynamics of the multi-faceted variety of inputs provided by these supporting professions that makes architecture as it is and what finally appears on the ground.

This is, or may be, one reason that subjects architecture to a variety of responses and interpretations. It is as result of these interpretations that architecture has reached various stages of glorifications of styles and characters within their regional or geographic contexts. Interestingly enough, every level of architectural achievements (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, modern and post-modern etc.) represent a unique inspiration of builders and master architects who have interpreted their local philosophy into an immortal three dimensional artifacts. All these artifacts were raised to achieve a functional requirement of the purpose for which they were built through a three-dimensional thematic expression that represented glory and dignity of its purpose and function.   
Unfortunately, we tend to see the glorification aspects of architecture as displayed by the external facades, and perhaps do not see the reasons as to how these facades were made to appear as a necessity. Flying buttresses of the Gothic Churches were distinctly an innovative way to express the functional form of a structural system. More than this issue alone, it was a determined effort to experiment a realization of an idea to achieve height of the body of the church that is so artistically glorified by the dignity given by the structural necessity as an evident possibility. Pyramids of Egypt and churches in the Renaissance period were a product of a similar philosophy – functions incarnated into a form with a glorified dignity. 
In all such examples, it needs to be appreciated that builders and architects of the period have interpreted the intention of the functional purpose through dignity or glorification for the purpose of the message of a function assigned by a society. Closer to home, all monuments of the Mughal period, more specifically, the Taj Mahal, fall in this category. I would therefore like to add here quickly that (good) architecture starts with an understanding of the functional necessity and immortalization of the necessity through an interpretation or expression of glorifying it with dignity. I am using the word dignity with a specific purpose to ensure that a subtle philosophy of the purpose emerges and the architectural form justifies its existence to support a true intention of the functional necessity. If this approach involves experimentation or an innovation to be introduced in achieving the goal, this will be a precious product of architecture at its best.

Architecture has two legs to stand on its own. Science and Mathematics (what I would like to categorize as Building Engineering) constitute one leg. Architectural Art* (what I would like to categorize as a thematic expression in three – dimension) constitutes as its other leg. 
  Both legs must be strong, healthy and well stilted with the body and equally muscled to give a static and kinetic balance to the body. However, if one leg suffers infirmity, the body will have to depend on the other leg as an alternative to achieve stability. In my view, and we can make an effort to experience it, limping on one leg is much more difficult, inconvenient and cumbersome. The same thing happens to architecture. Too much dependence on artistic content has crippled the functional (use it as a substitute for ‘normal’) ability (use it as a substitute for ‘stability’) to perform like a healthy body. This, I believe is the root cause of architecture being misunderstood.
* Architectural Art should be considered as distinctly different from the basic arts, such as, Fine Arts or Commercial Arts, for the reason that it is not a shadow view in 2-dimensions. Architectural Art specifically deals with the thematic expression of buildings as three-dimension artifacts, built forms or volumetric structures standing on ground.

Architecture has its roots in Mathematics and in Physics, and in the historical sense; these two inputs were inseparable from architecture, or perhaps indistinguishable. In classical Greece, Byzantine and ancient Rome, reference does appear in history that architects were expected to possess knowledge of Mathematics. Pythagorean mathematics and philosophy of golden numbers had their great influence on architecture. Closer to home, Vastu knowledge of architecture, arts, philosophy etc., had its logics in mathematical and numerical evaluations of establishing criteria for planning and design of buildings within the cosmic and gravitational influences of physical environment of the planet.

  Even in the modern times, we have architects who have attempted to make architecture through the knowledge of Mathematics/geometry. Buckminster Fuller and P.L.Nervi are the outstanding examples, but somehow, they seem to have become a part of modern history of Architecture, rather than a guiding force for architecture to become a way of practice based on mathematics and physics. Some writers on architecture, particularly on the subject of Mathematical Principles of Architecture have observed that crucial aspects of understanding architecture relate to two large parts which can be categorized as ‘The Tangible’ and ‘The Intangible’. Tangible aspects relate to what is discussed above, and the Intangible parts are those what our modern thinking about architectural approach is – architecture as a product of Arts, outer geometry that defines the Form of the building, contouring of the building against the sky, aesthetic interpretations, colors, sizes, outward expressions and character. It seems that architecture, in the final judgment, exists more for the pleasure of people on the streets than for people actually living in.

I am aware that as we talk about these issues, a controversy may already be hammering on the minds about the definition of architecture. Does the definition of architecture vary with every changing context of a culture or of transitions in history?  I do not want it to be an interpretable controversy because an answer to this query will be as fallacious to define ‘Urbanization’ in simplistic terms asan ‘anti- rural’ process by designed implications. We should not defend our product or make an effort to define a main issue by its fallout effects. Wholesomeness of a product lies in looking at its wholeness rather than its unintended fragments. In several senses, the evolution of architecture and urbanization is deeply integrated to each other. 
Urbanization evolved with the movements of human beings living in isolation from each other or in scattered groups within the dark and insecure forests and caves to the more shiny and airy outer environment to become organized groups on a definable space of land, what could be perhaps the first effort to organizing space into a socioeconomic community group. Architecture, as we know today, is an outcome of the same process. An organized community space (we may call it a hamlet or a village) ensured a continuity of a collective social organization and the evolving shelter concept was sustained at an individual or family level. We may look at it as an attempt at evolving organized architectural spaces for a family living as a cohesive group within the spatial pattern of the evolving village. .

However, architecture re-emerges with new expressions, what could also be called as a new evolution of architecture with a new spirit enthused by an advent of industrial synergism. What emerges after this is all that is recorded as a history of architecture between the periods from Renaissance to Post modernism through the contemporary phase. The architects are searching and seeking forms of architecture that are unique to their own way of thinking. This practice started with our Master architects, such as, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Oscar Nimeyer, Alvar Aalto, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies Van Der Rohe etc., who experimented with new industrial building materials to give expressions to the building materials with a typical mark of their own personality. 
Now with an inheritance of these modern examples of the new technological age, students of architecture in various educational institutions are inspired to study their works as a part of their curriculum. An impressionistic imprint of the works of Masters on the minds of the young students is just a natural acceptance of their ideas in their studio works.
In the new corporate culture of multi-nationalism, prospering commercial economy, the emergence of Malls and new ways of entertainment, Styles and Fashions have all contributed to their requirements of architecture that specifically enhances the signature value of the activity that promotes a symbolic identity of it. It is here where architecture, howsoever good or symbolic it may be, is absolutely going astray. In fact, architecture is only relevant to the promoters’ commercial or economic aspirations and not to people or the place. How can one think of all glass building in a hot climate, or a totally sealed building in a hot-humid climate. We must not live on an argument that what architecture ignores can be compensated by the use of Technology or industrial products, such as air conditioners (hot or cold) and air exhausts etc. One is made to believe that architecture is a ‘ Product’ to look at from various angles and distances and that necessarily puts it on priority to be treated as an artistically designed ‘ Form’ that sells. I think these trends must be reversed before architects offices become ‘Design Parlors’ rather than professional design offices. We have not been able to get out of the stigmatic designation of architects as ‘Map-makers’ colloquially known as ‘Naksha Navees ‘(N.N ) , and if the present trend continues, we may at best be relabeled with a new status of ‘Building Beauticians’( B.B )

Architecture is never good by imitation; architecture of a place is never adopted, nor adapted. It is however, open to techniques and technology for supporting the intentions and spirit of architecture of a place. A form of architecture is not good if it is alien to the Human spirit; a building material is not good if it is alien to living with comfort. Translation of architectural forms borrowed from other locations defeat the purpose of meaningful architecture. A tendency to imitate, what could perhaps be best described as Photostat Architecture (PSA), does not need the services of a qualified architect, One needs to know some skills to duplicate ideas as close to an idea of producing a fake currency. Nobody ever thinks that such a tendency is desirable except for the one who is benefited. I find it difficult to think of classifying architecture into category as’ or ‘bad architecture’. If it is architecture, it has to be good. Architecture does not exist by any other option including imitation. The spirit of architecture at any time, and in any period of history, has been to achieve excellence of a purpose that it stands for.
Since architecture is a dynamic process of human intentions, it has never remained shackled with period styles of the past; however, the newer contributions do retain their regional flavor unless an architect indulges in PSA activity for imitation.
A regional thinking of ‘place-based-architecture’ is not to confine the vision of architects; in fact, it is a primary parameter to start the process of vision making in search of thematic architecture for the region. It is also not intended to stop the spirit of experimentation in architecture.

Primarily, architecture serves the purpose of human beings in all spheres of their activities                    and that should be enough to presume that scope of architectural purpose and its manifestations is not limited. Intentions and aspirations of human beings have no boundaries, so are the architectural responses in a variety of physical forms. Pyramids are the embodiments of Royal resting places, Taj Mahal is an embodiment of love enshrined in a magnificent tomb, Eiffel tower is an example of excellence of Industrial technology and towering design in Engineering that represents the glorification and spirit of France, leaning tower of Pisa is another example of engineering excellence that makes it an unmistakable identity and pride of Italy. Opera House, Sydney glamorizes architecture in its dramatic reflection on the water edge to become a symbol of architectural excellence of Australia, Bahai temple represents a powerful theme of space covered by a lotus-shaped dome that sublimes the spirit of the faithful, and symbolizes the Indian diversity and openness to other faiths of the universe.

It is obvious that a variety of ways exist to represent and materialize a theme that reflects architectural concepts. Architecture cannot be universalized. Architecture can at best be considered an abstraction of an idea materialized. It is basically a vision and version of an idea that is enthused with a spirit of a theme reflected in a form that could be considered an architectural response as a reality on ground. It has therefore to be appreciated that though visions and versions for architectural realizations are unlimited as a wealth of human imaginations and perceptions, the final response depends on the ability of man to put the vision into a reality that has an existential context of space and time.  Architectural percepts are also engineering concepts, because if architecture is the soul and body reflecting a version of a vision; engineering is the physical energy and strength that reflects the vision as a reality on ground. It should however be not concluded that architecture is limited by engineering possibilities. Good engineering also seeks avenues to express itself as relevant to human aspirations and society at large. Both have at least one thing in common. When confronted with challenges, both respond to overall well being of human kind. Both convert their challenges into opportunities for achieving the high goals of human dreams with excellence. When the goals of architecture are achieved, or when an architectural concept stands firm on ground, it really makes no difference whether you call it a marvel of  ‘Architectural Art’ or a wonder of  ‘Building Engineering’ as in the final analysis both meet at the same point of excellence.

It is in this context that I find it difficult to digest an idea that architecture is not engineering or engineering is not architecture. It is firmly believed that Architects are often expected to be equipped with an artistic sensitivity, and I often hear that architects lack a competency of structural knowledge. I have often found that architecture students find engineering courses extremely boring in their classrooms. One may accept that there may be a deficiency in teaching communication on this subject that is certainly not the cause for an architect to be more of an artist and less of an engineer. We do need to consider a difference between  ‘general (common or basic) arts’ and ‘architectural art’.

Like a Fashion Designer or an Industrial Designer, and a sculptor, an architect is required to possess a similar ability to put an idea on paper by a graphic representation, so that the final goal of the pictorial representation conveys the message of what is going to stand on ground. There are certain sensibilities and sensitivities involved in this process as closer and common to what an artist does, but this similarity in no way entitles an architect to be considered more of an artist than an engineer. This similarity ends right at the point where it starts and that should be end of it all. If anything else, or I had my way, I would perhaps be happier to be considered closer to a physiologist or a biologist, because in any efforts to create an architectural concept, it is the biology or physiology of mind and brainpower that plays a crucial role in creating a good concept of architecture. On the other side, it is physiology of eye as visual sense that appreciates the good qualities of architecture and engineering. In some phases of architectural developments, arts and sculptures were added on to the main body of a building, and that should not be considered a basic need of architecture. At best, it could be philosophy of a particular faith reflected on the fabric of a building used as a canvas and has nothing to do with architecture per se. In fact, I feel that the phenomenon of visual physiology a highly scientific process of human biology. Visual phenomenon is strongly tied up with space, time seasons and neuro- perceptive senses of the eyes. The depth and distance of a building from the eye, time of the day that decided the brightness and shade and shadow effects, season that manifest in variety of colours of the fauna to the retina and assimilation of information generated by a building for the eyes and mind are all scientific processes that are integral part of architectural experience.
In view of the issues and thoughts expressed, and having realized that softer approaches to analyzing, evaluating and understanding architecture have not helped architecture to stand on its own, as much as, many other professions are able to do, I am impelled to accept that even after the professional services of an architect have been formally commissioned, the necessity of an architect remains a ‘disposable and replaceable’ option with the client. This apathy stands dismally dwarfed in comparison to other profession like Medical, Legal, Civil services, Management, Information Technology and other corporate professions. Before any controversy creeps in, I take it mandatory to clarify that these statements should be seen in the context of a difference between the status of a profession and stature of it as perceived by the priorities of public at large.

Evaluation of self as an architect; or a self-evaluation by architects themselves is called for on priority. It has been a long period of context since days of the Renaissance that we had been romanticizing and  reminiscing architecture as a piece or product of artistry. A lot of views since have laid emphasis on the contents of expression and interpretations of the visual appearance as a visual tonic provided by a magical dramatization (often associated with humanization) of built and unbuilt spaces. The architects have made untiring efforts to evaluate architecture through a softer and non-substantial yardstick that is more like an etymological jargon full of pathetic pedagogy rather than a quantifiable or measurable version of the same. It needs to be realized that architecture is not a fable to be talked about or narrated as a story; it needs an authentic realization and convincing visualization of its purpose on ground. A 360 degrees overhaul is only possible if we are ready to have a close re-look on the state and status of the profession from various angles

We may seek some answers through the analysis and evaluation of the following stages of the making of an architect.
1.Contribution by the Academic Institutions
2.Contribution by the Professional Environment
3.Contribution by the Professional Regulatory Body
A revisit to the above stages to have a glimpse of the ground reality will be very educative for understanding some of the issues as brought out earlier.
The training of architecture students is conducted through a highly fossilized academic curriculum that has remained tenaciously unchanged at least for the last 70 years or so. Not only have the main subjects remained the same all through, even the teaching methods or techniques have not changed at all. Incorporating a subject like Computer into an architectural curriculum is by no means a modernization or updating of the quality of the curriculum.
The difficulty lies in the nature of the subject itself. As observed earlier, architecture includes a host of allied professional courses, which cannot be ignored if the training of an architect has to be relevant to the profession of architecture. Nevertheless, there remains a big question mark about the antiquity aspect of training, which has neither been liberalized nor liberated from the shackles of the past practices of teaching.
Some of the reasons could be attributed to:
1.There is no prescribed requirement for an architect to undergo an additional training required to become an academic architect much on the pattern of B.Ed. program for general education.
2. Qualified architects prefer to be in profession/industry if the prospects of Profession show      booming prospects; nevertheless, many architects prefer to be in teaching when the boom declines. In both the cases, academic architecture suffers whether there is a boom or a decline in the profession.

3. A new trend seems to be appearing that is promoting a pattern of Outsourcing of teaching manpower what appears to be becoming a Wandering tribe of part-time visitors to architectural schools. They are able to make as much as a regular lecturer is able to earn and they do not have to be committed to a formal schedule at the place of visit. No school of architecture can achieve any concrete development of its programs and standards with the new pattern of ‘Fosterage’. This tribe of architects is hard pressed for time, and they often adopt short cuts to teaching methods, such as, a ‘PSA’ teaching technique through direct projection of information from the books and reading every line verbatim to complete the formality of teaching.

4. Often voices are heard about the required qualification and experience of architects who enter the teaching profession. Generally, practicing architects are considered as the most suitable for this assignment. The council of Architecture being alive to this situation defined parameters of qualifications to ensure that right kind of architects with right kind of qualifications  enter the profession of academic architecture. However, it remains a concern of architect teachers that they are not as well paid if teaching alone is prime preoccupation. As a result of this, there are problems that are experienced both by professional architects and academic architects. Whatever, be the gravity of the problems, it needs to be accepted that academic architecture cannot be left to a part time status, nor can it flourish with the architects without higher qualifications beyond Bachelor of Architecture
5.Academic architecture is not an issue of who is competent to become architect-teacher; there remains a paradoxical situation as to who should be eligible to become an architect. Pre-entry qualification  relevant to the field of architectural training cannot be watered down  to a point where anybody can be allowed to become architect with mathematics as the only essential subject without an adequate background  of science appreciation. This approach makes the status of architecture  as the root cause of the subject being most misunderstood. Implicit within this approach is that architecture is still being considered primarily an art-oriented subject. An architecture syllabus of any  school, it will be obvious that there exist in the core curriculum a  host of subjects like Acoustics, Lighting, Climatology, solar  architecture, Architectural structures, Building materials and  construction, Building services, water supply and sanitation, Air conditioning, Ventilation, Intelligent buildings and Computer applications etc; none of them will be classified as basis of art in architecture. Let us not forget tomorrow. Technology that sets the trends for any development in a country can expect tomorrow’s architects to think of the realities of art vs. science in newer context of emerging technology.
Architects are themselves to be blamed for the architecture not being understood properly. An architect presents himself as all in one professional. Look at his visiting card on both sides very carefully. He can do almost any thing that comes near the realm of architecture –Urban planning, urban design, landscape Design, valuation, estimation, contractor, Real Estate Site Management, Interior Design, Vastu and Feing shui etc. Let me not forget some of them do mention their professional capability as structural engineers also.

Unless, we address ourselves to the host of issues mentioned earlier with a determined commitment, the status of architecture will remain where it is today. A total outlook of educational institutions, students and parents, profession of Architecture and architects, will all have to undergo a radical transformation. In this process, it is heartening to note that the role of the Council of Architecture has changed itself from the role of a watch- guard to a vanguard so as to be in command of the professional innovations for achieving excellence. A major role has to be to bring the profession to a level where it is not subordinated to other professions because of its own inherent vagueness and deficiency. 
This can be achieved if we make sciences and Mathematics as the basis for professional training. Even if some people dream to relate it to arts, let them at least think architecture as an application of scientific art in building engineering so as to be measurable and quantifiable in specific terms of evaluation. We can surely realize that Architecture as a volumetric container of space has an indisputable Possibility of being evaluated into measurable dimensions of sizes, lengths, breadths, heights, scales, proportions, areas, angles, slopes, depths, mass, densities, edges and circles are all an outcome of a mathematical or geometric possibility as may be relevant to architecture. There is no doubt in my mind that every thing that goes to make a building or goes into a building is measurable in absolute units.
There had been several efforts made in the past as is obvious from the historical periods to the modern days. Greek and Gothic architecture are the few period examples that one can be inspired of to relate architecture to meaningful measurements of visualizations. Similarly, in the most recent times visibly quantifiable architecture has been produced by help of geometry, science and mathematics by eminent personalities like Buckminster Fuller (Geodesic Domes), P.L.Nervi visibly perceivable structural forms, Le Corbusier for visibly rationalized forms in geometry, and his mathematical basis of ‘Modulor’ are reasons enough to believe that architecture can be made a subject of mathematical and scientific investigations. All it needs for an architect to shed his exclusive dependence on the emotive-cum-intuitive basis of romanticism with achievements of aesthetics of architectural form that cannot be sustained by mathematical or scientific logics. A good structural knowledge base, an economic quantification of space utilization and optimization, a good interpretation of natural functions of a building into a logical architectural volume, a good and sound knowledge of local environment (geology, ecology, vegetation, climatic interpretation and reflection in buildings, etcWink are extremely important to understand as quantifiable variables that impacts the final form of architecture as it emerges. It seems to me that most parameters of architecture are rationally quantifiable, and if not, let us subject them to a research program. Beyond the reasonable limits of logistics, architecture becomes a luxury, and sometimes a wasteful vulgarity that can be easily disposed of. Lack of logistics and a justifiable rationalism, cannot be substituted by or compensated by an induction of luxury in architecture. This is not to say that architecture needs to be non-responsive or non-changeable profession. Innovation and experimentation should be encouraged with a determined focus on making architectural achievement a subject of logical interpretation as mathematics and sciences are. It is continuous process of experimentation that enriches the knowledge, and architecture should remain alive to this responsibility.
Architecture may remain in evolution, and in fact, it should remain so, but every evolving stage must be capable of being interpreted into understandable or perceptible quantities. Let nobody ever feel that architects make only maps, imitate or produce beautiful buildings as ‘NN or BB’ or ’PSA’ category of architects. A new generation of young architects must take up this challenge in this new age of science and technology, communication, exploration and investigative reasoning. The students of architecture, particularly those who want to make architecture as serious career option, must be seriously concerned about the quality of education they receive, the quality of physical environment {including educational infrastructure) they get as a learning environment. The teachers themselves, inasmuch as, the profession of architecture must also play their role in promoting a new culture of teaching and assimilation of knowledge by the students.

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RE: Architecture: Why is it most misunderstood? Prof. Vishwamitter - sonali31 - 02-02-2019

I’m not sure about the most misunderstood thing, but here are a few.

You need to be good at Mathematics to study architecture. You don’t. You need to be numerate, but you don’t need many equations. Certainly no calculus or advanced algebra. This will vary from country to country, but the nature of the job doesn’t specifically require high levels of numeracy.
That architects are all stylish and wealthy. If only this were true! A lot of us do tend to own rather more black clothes than is typical though…
You can become one without formal training. Nope.
That you can switch from engineering to architecture. Bonus follow-up question, that you can practise as both. The first part is not impossible, but extremely difficult. Architecture and engineering are related, but it’s a bit like the difference between general surgeons and anaesthetists. A surgeon can’t do a lot of serious surgery without an anaesthetist, and an anaesthetist certainly couldn’t practise surgery, but the two roles are mutually dependent. They require completely different ways of thinking and different approaches to problem-solving. Bonus question - theoretically yes, practically almost certainly not. As the saying goes, you can’t serve two masters.
That you have to be a good artist to be an architect. You do need to be able to draw as a means of exploring and refining ideas, but you don’t need to be able to draw beautifully. It will help, but it won’t on its own make you a fabulous architect. Software is not an effective substitute for drawing.
The job involves spending most of your time designing glamorous buildings. Most aren’t glamorous, and most of our time is spent in meetings, writing e-mails, filling in forms, and making sure that we get all the documentation right. Design might comprise 20–30% of our time if we are lucky. We probably spend as much time arguing (it’s sometimes called ‘having a lively or passionate debate’) with people!