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“For faculty working at a design school, there are no typical days. Every day is fresh and exciting at JD,” says Architect Shilpa Nande, who mentors master’s students at the institute. With decades of industry and academia experience behind her, the seasoned mentor who has  recently done, her M. arch (Habitat Design) emphasizes on new-age pedagogies and real-world knowledge sharing to guide students on their professional journeys. She talks about the unique subjects she teaches, the fast growing impact of Habitat Design, and what makes JD experience stand out, for students as well as faculty.

Constitution of India, Building Services, Landscape Design and Material Survey are the subjects Prof. Nande teaches at the institute. She talks about their role in the world of design as she highlights, “Material Survey provides thorough knowledge of all materials used for interiors execution. It is essential to design and meet the needs, aesthetics, comforts and budgets of clients. Building services, which is part of Civil Engineering, is important to make the place liveable. Constitution of India is a civics theory subject, and the challenge here is to make it interesting to young minds,” she explains simply and with candour. 

Making her subjects and lessons relatable to students is of prime importance to Prof. Nande. Interestingly, she also strongly believes in treating every student with respect as an individual; knowing their names and dreams. She is excited to work in the friendly environment at JD where there is equal respect and sharing of ideas amongst faculty members too. “Unlike other colleges, JD offers students multiverse exposure. We as teachers bring our domain expertise to the classroom but it is also guided by our exchanges with faculty of fashion, jewelry departments etc. It promotes out of the box things amongst us and our students too,” she adds. 

The industry-experienced academic has worked on several residential and commercial projects. Prof. Nande believes, “We have to share our field experience with students. It’s vital that they can connect their theoretical learning to practical approach for challenges they are going to face in their future.” According to her, this is one of the factors that make JD students stand out from the rest. She also mentions that the industry-relevant curriculum; revised on a regular basis, the opportunity to work on Annual Design Awards where students get mentored to work on concept, research, manufacturing, and presentation in the exhibits, are crucial for their dynamic growth.

As we look ahead to the trends, it’s impossible to miss the growing role of Habitat Design, the subject Prof. Nande has mastered. She asserts that it’s a new specialization, which is part of Urban Design, and is gaining further prominence after the pandemic as comfortable living spaces are a priority. “Clients have moved from cozy homes concept to comfortable, high rated, well-equipped rooms, changing the skylines and radius of the metro cities. Smart and Green Homes are the future, and sustainability is the key to survival. As designers we need to study, observe, move, and adapt to changes. In the near future, there will be a surge in development in Tier 2/3 cities, and thus a growing demand for professionals who are agile to change, and have insights into latest technologies too,” she concludes on an encouraging note. 

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