Pune Conclave on Architecture education and practice

Recognising the need to re-evaluate architectural education and practice in India

The Pune Declaration coalesced from years of reflection on the part of concerned practitioners, educators and activists about how the dominant paradigm of the profession of architecture in India is not only divorced and distant from the major challenges, both societal and sectorial, being faced but is also complicit (often unwittingly) in the system that has evolved.

INHAF’s proposal for a conclave finally bore fruit in a meeting in Pune on 16-17 November 2019. Prior to this, it was the keynote address of Kirtee Shah, Founder-INHAF, at the Laurie Baker centennial celebrations in 2016 which was used to articulate publically the critique of the profession, professionals and their education system. At the conclave in Pune, there were over fifty participants, representing practitioners, educators, students, as well as some from other fields who felt equally concerned.  The conclave was made possible by MIT World Peace University.

Discussions at the conclave were both general in nature, and also focussed on practice, education, and the links between the profession and society.  As there were young architects and students present, one session focussed on the concerns and hopes of the younger generation.  At the end of the conclave, it was decided to reify the initiative in “The Pune Declaration”, and a working group was constituted to draft the declaration. Many drafts, varying considerably from each other, were produced, and after a lot of work and debate a final Declaration was produced.  Rather than seeking to be comprehensive on issues, the Declaration has focused on recognising the crisis and creating a framework for action in confronting it.  The Declaration is not seen as a frozen document but will evolve as actions on the issues proceed.  The challenge is vast, and issues are complex, so there will be multiple actions of varied types.  A uniform consensus is not the goal, variety in action will be welcome as an opportunity to learn from each other, the common thread being a quest to replace the status quo with a constructive paradigm.


The Pune Declaration, drafted by students and practitioners, as an outcome analysed and suggested an agenda for reforms and change in view of the current and future human settlement challenges, 2019-20


MIT World Peace University