M.Des. in Heritage Design, Planning & Management


Program Description

Image showing significant elements of architecture and landscapes in Hoysala, documented during the study tour (Source: SUI-Srishti; Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar)


This program is one of the two postgraduate programs established under the UNESCO Chair in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development at Srishti. The program is designed to deliver familiarity with international and national, norms and standards of heritage interpretation and management, based on the foundation of the World Heritage Convention. Furthermore, the courses will be driven towards exploring new processes of designing, managing and planning for preserving heritage sites and the surrounding milieu; such that the outcomes will benefit local communities, and nurture creative entrepreneurship within the eclectic cultural landscapes.

In a fast-changing and rapidly globalizing world, issues related to uniqueness and identity, are becoming an important and inevitable discourse in academia and practice. Non-renewable resources like our cultural and natural heritage are well-springs for both, traditional and contemporary creative practices rooted in a locality or a place. Through this program and its courses, the larger intention is to address questions related to the relationship between communities (people) and initiatives of preservation and conservation in places of heritage value. How do we identify and assess the cultural (tangible and intangible) and environmental heritage of a place? How do we manage and protect these valuable resources? How can we improve such places and benefit their communities in ways that are compatible with the heritage values? How can we support local communities to manage their inheritance? How can places, their cultural and natural assets inform and inspire design and creative practices?

A deeper understanding and informed interpretation of built and intangible, cultural heritage and the natural environment in a design process, will lead to planned, sensitive and compatible integration of heritage values. Thus, this program is curated to engage with the skills, knowledge, and tools to identify, document, evaluate, interpret, protect, and manage, cultural and natural heritage. The learning will be directed towards proposing creative solutions through minimal and sustainable approaches, in order to improve basic infrastructure, enhance the presentation of places and employ the contextual uniqueness to the benefit of local communities. Courses will also engage with local knowledge practices and derive principles of design from the cultural landscapes, with the larger aim of exploring new ways for defining contemporary creative practices. This multidisciplinary program is a platform for theoretical and practical engagement through context-specific inquiries to engage with a range of disciplines from designing for the built environments to the humanities, cultural geography, management, entrepreneurship, and tourism; and understand how practices in these fields are being constantly informed and enriched by one other.

The pedagogy of this program will have constant overlaps and intersections with its complementing postgraduate program under the UNESCO Chair. Both these programs are structured around the issues of heritage preservation and conservation, arising from the vision and mandate of the chair. The immediate focus areas of intervention for the academic year 2017-19 will be Hoysala Region, Deccani Region, Western Ghats, Coastal Karnataka and Bengaluru Metropolitan. These places will only act as living labs for the purpose of portfolio building, not limiting the holistic learning in the areas of heritage design, planning, and management of similar contexts in the future. This program will thus be a part of a much larger, interdisciplinary community at the School of Law, Environment, and Planning at Srishti.


Key Values

  • Inward-looking and interdisciplinary approach
  • Heritage interpretation and translation.
  • Practicing creativity through amalgamation.
  • Creative and contextual responses.

Course structure

  1. Studios encourage active, contextual learning where students develop core disciplinary skills and knowledge. Studios facilitate collaborative and creative design solutions to complex, open-ended problems
  2. Workshops provide intense learning experiences in making and doing, across the different disciplines.
  3. Internship with an industry or a design studio is compulsory for students at the end of 1st year
  4. Self Initiated Project is an end of the semester challenge that allows the student to engage in research/inquiry or design based projects. Students begin by writing their project proposal and defining the scope of their project and they are mentored by faculty/design professionals.
  5. Electives are liberal arts courses aimed to cultivate intellectual and reflective abilities in students and motivate them to probe deeper and approach their design process in a holistic manner.
  6. Capstone Project is the culmination of the research, capabilities, and knowledge gained over the last three semesters. Students are required to submit their design output and a mandated thesis document. Students are mentored during this final project and go through seminars to get feedback from faculty and peer groups


Learning Approach

Different units and courses will be conducted through either one or more of the following approaches:

  • Project-based: To actively explore real-world challenges, conflicts, and problems within timelines with context-sensitivity.
  • Position-based: To foster a deep understanding of theories and practices, and arrive at individual inquiries and stand-points.
  • Place-based: To take the learning from immersive field trips and expeditions; and extend, deepen and transform them into site-specific interventions.
  • Participation-based: To understand the diversity of actors, who passively or actively inhabit the space of inquiry, and incorporate their insights through sensitive and equitable tools.
  • Process-based: To engage with art and design research methodologies; and push the boundaries of discourses in urban design, conservation, and sustainability.


On successful application of the program, students would acquire the following capabilities:

  • To conceptualize notions of contemporary creative practices, cultural landscapes, and heritage compatible development to better the social environments and benefit local communities.
  • To understand the key norms around protection and management of cultural and natural heritage.
  • To document, map, survey, research, record, analyze, visualize, theorize and disseminate a wide range of information and insights.
  • To build inventories, assess threats and write proposals to protect historic sites and local communities.
  • To design and manage at different scales for heritage protection initiatives, while nurturing creativity and participation, individually as well as in multidisciplinary groups.


These capability sets would open up various opportunities for successful graduates in the following fields or forms of practices:

  • Heritage conservation and heritage compatible design, designing for the built-environment to product design or film-making.
  • Government agencies, research, and development organizations, NGOs, social enterprises, museums, galleries, archives and performing art centers.
  • Hospitality businesses and organizations focused on cultural tourism and ecotourism
  • Design entrepreneurship
  • Higher studies through doctoral programs and career in academics


For more information about this program, kindly emailIshita Shah at ishita.shah@srishti.ac.in

Last updated Jan 2019

About the School

Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology is a non-residential institution founded in 1996 by the Ujwal Trust with the objective of providing art and design education in an environment of creat ... Read More

Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology is a non-residential institution founded in 1996 by the Ujwal Trust with the objective of providing art and design education in an environment of creativity to maximize the individual’s potential.The Ujwal Trust also manages Srishti's sister institution, the prestigious Mallya Aditi International School. Read less