The Rachana Sansad’s Institute of Environmental Architecture is part of the postgraduate wing of the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai. It was established in 2002 following an international seminar on Sustainable Architecture and Design in 1998 organized by the Academy of Architecture in collaboration with the International Institute for Sustainable Future (IISF), Mumbai. The convenors, Dr. Rashmi Mayur and Prof. S.H.Wandrekar felt the need then to establish a program for architects to be trained in environmental design and management. The idea came to fruition in November 2002 under the leadership of Prof. Nishi Phondge who started a postgraduate diploma course in environmental architecture recognized by the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education. With 7 students to start with, the Institute has now 2 full batches of 20 students each undergoing a two-years Masters program in Environmental Architecture under the auspices of the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU), Nashik and recognized by the Council of Architecture, a full-fledged Research & Design Cell, four full-time and 35 visiting faculty members. It is recognized as a pioneer in the field.
When architects construct buildings, it has an impact on the environment. It affects the ecology of the place, disturbs the flora and fauna, changes the course of water bodies, pollutes the air and depletes finite natural resources. Is such destruction imminent and inevitable? We don’t think so.
At the Institute of Environmental Architecture, we believe that the architect’s primary role is ‘stewardship’ of the land & environment. It is in establishing the intrinsic co-relation between human beings and the rest of the natural world, that the architect’s creative abilities are realized. Our philosophy has evolved from the all-encompassing sacred Banyan tree – that has been an integral part of our campus, our logo and our values.
The Institute equips professionals with skills essential for environmental design. Its two years Masters Program recognized by the Council of Architecture and conducted under the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU), Nashik, is designed to cater to working professionals. The key subjects include:
- Introduction to Environment & Sustainability
- Thermal Comfort & Passive Design
- Environmental Pollution & Remediation
- Urban Ecology & Environmental Planning
- Ecological Landscape Design
- Geographic Information System
- Environmental Psychology
- Water and Waste Management
- Energy Efficient Buildings
- Environmental Law
- Green Buildings - Standards and Certifications
- Environmental Project Management
The Rachana Sansad’s Institute of Environmental Architecture conducts environmental projects and public awareness in addition to the academic programs. These include seminars and training programs on various subjects such as green architecture, eco-housing technical criteria, eco-friendly building materials, rainwater harvesting and several others. In addition, the Institute organizes free sapling distribution program annually and rainwater harvesting competition, Harvest to Harness (2004- 08), which documented and created awareness on this issue. The Institute represented by its Head of Department was part of a team selected by the USAID to study Green Buildings in the US in October 2004 and was also a consulting member of the team drafting eco-housing criteria for the Municipalities of Mumbai and Pune in 2005-07.
The Research and Design Cell of the Institute
provides independent consultancy wherein a team of students guided by faculty members undertakes projects. Some past projects include Ecotourism projects in Sawantwadi, Restoration of Charolette lake at Matheran, Dahisar River Restoration Project, Environment Improvement Projects in slums such as Behrampada and Mahatma Phule Nagar, Mumbai, & Rainwater harvesting for several housing societies and corporate houses including HPCL, Mumbai office.