Exploring Architectural Journalism As a Career
Architect Apurva Bose Dutta, an architectural journalist based in Bangalore talks to us about this niche career choice and how exciting and challenging it is to be one of the few people in this country to be pursuing this line independently.
My first work experience in architectural journalism was with Architecture Design (A D), India's leading architectural magazine that I joined in 2005, within 2 months of graduating from Chandigarh College of Architecture. Marriage took me to UK from where I also did a diploma in freelance journalism. I have worked in the core team of Indian Architect & Builder, another leading magazine in Bombay. I moved to Bangalore seven years ago and in these years as a freelance architectural journalist, I have been collaborating with a lot of design magazines/online portals/design organisations to speak and write on architecture, in India as well as overseas.
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Writing has been a part of me and my conscience ever since I was a little child. By the time I was 7-8 years old, writing had become a hobby, one that I was deeply passionate about, and that gave me a sense of leisure as well as relaxation. I had never visualised it as a profession, for the mere reason that it was like another hobby in my list of hobbies that included music, dance, skating, playing the keyboard, playing badminton, reading etc. However, I was quite fascinated by the idea of an elective of architectural journalism in my final year of B.Arch and I took it up. It excited me because it gave me an opportunity to write. The elective somewhat shaped the kind of career that I wanted to follow since I realised that the fervour and enthusiasm with which I would study for the subject was unparalleled. To me, it was a great way to combine my technical degree and my hobby. Out of the 6 students who took up the elective, I was the only one who pursued it.
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Back then it was a new subject in India without any role models to follow, though overseas the subject of architectural writing has been recognised for many decades now. However, I did discuss the subject with some of my faculty members, seniors in the college and some senior architects who categorically told me that if I was really interested in it, I should pursue it further. But I think there was a lot of determination to be shown and I am happy that I was able to show it! Also, God was kind. After I graduated, I did want to pursue a career in Architectural Journalism, but I did need a sound foundation for the same. At that time there were very few magazines for architecture in India and A D was the leading magazine then and coincidentally they were looking for someone to join them. After some series of interviews I got selected, and I left my hometown Chandigarh to work in Delhi with them. With A D, I got the motivation and the courage to move ahead on this career path.
Since I work in a field that hasn't many role models in India to emulate, and additionally because I work as a freelancer, I face a lot of different challenges as well as opportunities. But even after a decade in the subject, I maintain a constant effort to keep on understanding and exploring the different way architectural writing can enhance architecture...exploring its different scopes.
I want to push the subject to become a mainstream profession. To that end, I have been working on different initiatives since some time to make the subject more approachable, more visible and less complex for everyone who wants to get into it.
For the first 15 years of my life, I wanted to be a doctor...but then I became an architect. In the last few months of my five-year architecture degree, I decided to specialise as an architectural journalist - a profession that no one had really heard of in India, back then. As they say, 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans'.
I believe you never know what destiny has written for you, but it does write a script that is best for you. It is up to you how much of hard work, perseverance and dedication you can put in that script, to make your life worthwhile!
Thank you Apurva for sharing your story.
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