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Year 1989. Number of Architectural Schools in Delhi including National Capital Region (NCR) till then: one. Number of Architects graduating per year: forty. Demand: Tenfold.
Stepping in to address this demand and the gap in architectural education, Mr. Sushil Ansal laid the foundation of the Sushant School of Art and Architecture or SSAA or just Sushant for many, in the year 1989. Conceived with the objective of combining traditional Indian aesthetics and modes of urban planning with the needs of a modern cityscape, SSAA not only fulfilled this objective but also went beyond and set its own paradigm. Fellow of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Padma Shri MM Rana was the first and only choice for the position of the Dean. Prof. Rana envisioned SSAA not as a factory to produce architects but as a workshop for moulding aesthetic sensibilities.
In the year 2000, Prof. Rana, writing in the School magazine recalled the environment in which the School began: that of tall trees, large open spaces where everyone could breathe freely, live and play. Prof. Rana wrote that ‘…the “pioneers” were a handful. They had the required IQ and the aptitude for this new beginning. We started in an abandoned site office of Sushant Lok. The Ansals called it “Bangalli”! And thanks to their goodwill it all started here with Vedic mantras and planting trees. There has not been a single dull moment since, that we can recall. The five architects who pioneered this venture into untrodden part of learning processes were at the very core of this new beginning.’ 25 years later, here we are, still without a dull moment.
“…Satish Grover and CP Kukreja with whom I had been actively involved in helping start the Architecture + Design magazine invited me to join with them in setting up a new School of Architecture in Gurgaon that the Ansals were financing. It seemed like an exciting idea as the School of Planning & Architecture was the only school of architecture in Delhi at that time. With steadily increasing urbanisation the demand for qualified professionals was growing, and we were all enthusiastic about starting a new professional programme with a somewhat different outlook. As with the magazine, the focus was to be on the new architecture developing across the country. This was the defining core of the new institution. Along with this was the acceptance of computers as a new professional tool…Ansals offered a site at Sushant Lok as a location for the new school. This turned out to be a good choice as the site was open and large with a number of mature trees defining a very pleasant garden setting. The location at the edge of the newly developed Sushant Lok colony gave the school its name. Despite the makeshift arrangement and temporary structures, the general creative atmosphere generated at the school was very positive, and the first few batches of students were able to take advantage of strong personal care and attention from the staff. Mr. Mansingh M Rana who headed the new school for many years, developed a strong personal bond with most of his students and helped to develop a strong professional commitment for the future.” Excerpts from Ranjit Sabikhi’s essay on Sushant’s Origin
The Sushant School of Art & Architecture (SSAA) was established by Chiranjiv Charitable Trust, a premier voluntary organization devoted to the cause of education. In the last 25 years, SSAA has established itself as one of the top three architectural institutes in the Indian subcontinent (as per the EUMD India List of Top Architectural Institutes in India by the British Council). The school is recognized by the ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Council of Architecture (COA).