World’s Skyscrapers “Made in India”

India has become the BPO capital of the world and the world’s backend office. That is nothing new. Millions of words have been written about it and its no more a new phenomenon. But most of the work is in the IT based, or consumer and customer service based industries. Hardly anything in my profession. Or so I thought till a couple of months ago.

Architectural services BPO’s are sprouting all over India, and recently a firm from Calcutta came to our office to give us a presentation of what they can offer. A senior associate and I sat through this and were interested by what they had to offer. Sadly for a firm of our kind, there is not a lot of opportunity to outsource work, as most of our projects are very unique in the way they are detailed out and built. Of course there is no question of outsourcing the actual design aspect of it. Designing is every architect’s dream and the the processes that follow behind are the ones that bog one down. But which turn out to be the most important in the long run.

The Calcutta firm is not the only outsourcing firm I know of in India. An ex-classmate and friend from Rizvi Architecture now runs her own architectural services firm in Hyderabad, and was recently in the US to look out for clients.

And just last tuesday the Financial Express ran a very interesting article about this same issue. If the article is to be believed, a lot of the world’s highrises, hotels, convention centres, casinos and houses are being detailed and documented for construction by architecture firms in India.

Young boys and girls are busy, leaning down on their desks, sketching designs for landscapes across the globe. From a mosque in Kuwait and F-1 track in Italy to a casino in Las Vegas and skyscraper in New York, whole cities emerge, as the pace of their hand quickens. Welcome to the world of architect design outsourcing!

With rising costs and shortage of architects in US, Middle East and Europe, architecture outsourcing is scaling heights in India. From 3D rendering of planetariums, auto malls and luxury resorts to helping archaeologists find lost cities and monuments through virtual walkthroughs, the global $57 billion industry is booming. […link…]

It’s still a very sad commentary on the state of architects in India. Architects working in these BPO’s get paid double of what they would be paid if they worked in regular architecture offices of architects practising in the country. Today, architects are one of the lowest paid professions in India and in the world.

After 5 years of degree education you start with a 8,000 Rs a month pay check. That’s ridiculous. What the heck…..even high school kids get paid more answering customer service calls in BPO’s. Architects themselves are largely to blame for this malaise, and it’s not very common to see even the so called “reputed” architects under-cutting their fees to get clients.

What this BPO scenario does is truly makes the world a global village, and another profession which adapts to globalization.

with about 100 based in India alone. There is a lot of work coming from US clients based in China. So, the building is conceptualised in US, designed in India and built in China!”

Hopefully the scenario changes in the years to come, as more and more informed clients and architects meet to collaborate on projects in India.

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