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Talk with Vishaan Chakrabarti


While urban growth is often argued to be economically and ecologically positive, the majority of it is proving to be banal. Mass production and formulaic development are condemning our cities to bland homogeneity, resulting in community resistance and a creeping global sameness. Vishaan Chakrabarti’s talk will discuss the causes of and alternatives to this global phenomenon, with a focus on how architects can design connective cities that are reflective of local communities, cultures, climates and construction methods.
Vishaan Chakrabarti, FAIA FRAIC Founder:
With over twenty years of proven experience authoring and implementing visionary design, Vishaan Chakrabarti is the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. Simultaneously, he is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he teaches design and urbanism. His highly acclaimed book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America (Metropolis Books, 2013), argues that a more urban United States would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous, and socially mobile nation.

Recently Chakrabarti was named the William W. Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, a position he will assume in July 2020. PAU will as a consequence open a California office in tandem with its existing New York studio, both of which will continue under Vishaan’s creative direction.

From 2012 to 2015, Vishaan was a principal at SHoP Architects, where he co-led major architecture and urban design projects including the master plan and first building at the Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg as well as the master plan and first building at the Essex Crossing site at Seward Park, which together bookend the Williamsburg Bridge in a new form of mixed-use, mixed-income urbanism.

While serving under Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the director of the Manhattan Office for the New York Department of City Planning, Vishaan successfully collaborated on the now-realized efforts to save the High Line, rezone Hudson Yards, extend the #7 subway line, rebuild the East River Waterfront, expand the Columbia University campus, and reincorporate the street grid at the World Trade Center site after the events of 9/11. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley; a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and dual bachelor’s degrees in art history and engineering from Cornell University. He is a registered architect in the States of New York and Pennsylvania and is registered with NCARB.

Vishaan lectures internationally; contributes articles and op-eds to the New York Times, Crain’s Business, and other publications; has appeared on CBS Evening News, MSNBC’s The Cycle, Charlie Rose, National Public Radio, WNYC, and other television and radio programs; and was a main-stage speaker at TED 2018: The Age of Amazement. He serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York, the Regional Planning Association, and the Citizens Budget Commission. Vishaan has received a CACF Catalyst for Change Award and is a former Crain’s “40 Under 40” and David Rockefeller Fellow.