By U Tin Htoon (A60)
Architecture was introduced for the very first time in 1954 at BOC, University of Rangoon. U Myo Myint Sein belongs to this first batch. One of his classmates, Ko Myint Thein retired as Chief Architect of Public Works Department in Yangon. We were the “third batch” and were fortunate to study at the brand new “Faculty of Engineering” campus, commonly known as “Leik-khone” at Pyay [Prome] Road. There were nine of us in the first year, (1956). One of them was Shajahan, an Indian lady who became the first female to join the male dominated Engineering campus. However, she was unfortunate to be the victim of the “2F” system of our days. She left for India and later graduated as an Architect from there.
In our second year, three guys from the second batch joined us. One from the first batch joined us in the final year. Two of the old-timers became the victims of the “2F” system.
One very unique and interesting aspect of being an architecture student is doing design work. We were trained to solve design problems within a stipulated time and because of that we use to spend most of our time in our studio class. Eventually, the studio became our second home. We practically eat and sleep there and we spent our break times in the studio as well.
Only when attending related Engineering subjects, we join together with other Engineering students. Otherwise, we normally confined ourselves within the Department of Architecture block and among our own group. Thus, the reason that most of the Engineering students came to know us because we were like “caged animals” in the zoo; being watched by people from outside and in our case by our friends as they walked along the corridors. Although the majority of us were day students, we were better off than those staying in the hostels as we didn’t have to pay extra to live in the studios. It was fun spending our time in the studios and as we were able to come up with fantastic ideas and designs and draw them as and whenever desired and complete the project within the stipulated time. For us, we didn’t had “days” and “nights”. The nights were more peaceful and productive for us. Only the studios in the architecture block were lit up at night. Sometimes, we even walk over to Hledan, Kamayut to have our break and supper.
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