Vishaan Chakrabarti: Towards a New Architecture Practice

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Digital rendering and cross section of an architectural structure.

Domino Sugar Refinery, Brooklyn, NY photo / provided


With over twenty-five years of proven experience authoring and implementing visionary architecture and urbanism, Vishaan Chakrabarti is the William W. Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. Simultaneously he serves as the Founder and Creative Director of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU). 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.

Vishaan’s professional portfolio spans major new academic and institutional commissions; a mixed-use village in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; a 100% social housing neighborhood in East New York including supportive housing for the formerly homeless; a master plan for the area surrounding Michigan Central Station in Detroit; attainable housing in Newark; the master plan and first buildings at both the Domino Sugar and Essex Crossing sites in New York; and a range of celebrated public spaces and waterfronts. In addition to commissioned work, PAU takes on numerous pro-bono social advocacy projects.

Vishaan lectures internationally; contributes articles and op-eds to the New York TimesCrain’s Business, and other publications; has appeared on CBS Evening NewsMSNBC’s The CycleCharlie RoseNational Public RadioWNYC, 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, the Norman Foster Foundation, and The World Around You. 


Practice for Architecture and Urbanism | PAU, now in its fifth year of existence, is a New York based studio dedicated to the advancement of sustainable and equitable cities. The practice is led by Vishaan Chakrabarti, the William Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design at Berkeley, and Ruchika Modi, the firm’s Managing Principal. Since its inception PAU has publicly committed to what it would not do, including work for dictators, sprawl builders, or the incarceration state. Today the award-winning firm of 25 well-treated professionals is designing complex urban projects worldwide including the Domino Sugar Refinery, an urban village in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, new campus and cultural architecture, social housing and infrastructure commissions, and a series of self-sponsored advocacy projects under the rubric of PAU:SE—PAU Special Edition.

Introduction by Tao DuFour

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