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Vishaan Chakrabarti    

Architect & Author of "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America"

With over thirty years of experience investigating, designing, and implementing urban architecture, Vishaan Chakrabarti is the Founder and Creative Director of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism | PAU , where he leads the firm's growing global portfolio of cultural, institutional, and public projects. Chakrabarti’s past roles—including Principal at architecture firms SHoP Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, President of the Moynihan Station Venture at the Related Companies, Director of the Manhattan Office for the New York Department of City Planning in the Bloomberg administration, and the William W. Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley—have given him a uniquely well-rounded perspective on how cities and their architecture function and what they need to flourish.

While serving under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chakrabarti successfully collaborated on the now-realized efforts to save the High Line, 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. This deep-seated experience of implementing landmark urban designs under bureaucratic confines drives PAU’s innovative yet practical approach to creating vibrant, resilient, and cross-cultural urban environments that uplift the experience of everyday people.

PAU’s process begins with a search for emotional, social, and cultural connection, which inspires bespoke design solutions that deploy material, tectonics, light, and space to foster a sense of serendipity and community. Integral to PAU’s philosophy is developing a robust understanding of the daily lives of a diverse spectrum of urban dwellers, allowing the team to create multi-functional spaces that stimulate civic delight, promote environmental justice and cross-cultural pollination, and improve how people interact with the city and with each other. Current projects of note include the design of the FAA’s new sustainable air traffic control tower prototype, which will be adapted to replace over 100 aging towers in regional and municipal airports across the nation, the expansion of the I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the planning and redevelopment of downtown Niagara Falls, and the conversion of the historic Domino Sugar Factory on Brooklyn’s waterfront into a contemporary office complex, to open this summer.

Chakrabarti is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America” (Metropolis Books, 2013), and “The Architecture of Urbanity: Designing Cities for Pluralism and Planet” (2024, Princeton University Press). He taught at Columbia for more than a decade and serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York, the Regional Planning Association, the Norman Foster Foundation, The World Around and Prometheus Materials. Chakrabarti has degrees in architecture, urban planning, art history, and engineering.

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