Architect Rajeev Kathpalia has been a partner with Vastu Shilpa Consultants (VSC) since 1995, collaborating closely for more than two decades with the 2018 laureate of the Prizker Architecture Prize Balkrishna Doshi. The Prizker Architecture Prize is generally considered one of the most prestigious international recognitions in architecture.
Designing across a range of scales, Professor Kathpalia's practice encompasses regional and city plans, institutional campuses, individual buildings, and even furniture. His work integrates frugal and environmentally responsible strategies to create inclusive habitats for people. He is renowned for his architectural designs and has won several national and international competitions.
Professor Kathpalia serves as a trustee and former director of the Vastu Shilpa Foundation, a research based, non-profit charitable trust, and also runs the Foundation’s International Habitat Studio Program, which brings together students from across India and around the globe.
For the past 30 years, he has also taught as a university professor, lecturing extensively in India and abroad, and receiving several honors and awards.
Before being appointed as honorary professor, Professor Kathpalia has already worked closely with XJTLU. In June 2019, he was invited by the Department of Architecture in XJTLU to conduct a workshop that was inspired by the ideas and practice of Professor Balkrishna Doshi.
The international workshop was titled “Between Architecture and Landscape” and set out to explore the balance between the built space and its environment through a real project based on the City of Suzhou.
“This workshop themed at the intersection of landscape and urbanism, by all accounts was a grand success. The participating students exhibited their works and showed huge enthusiasm,” said Professor Kathpalia.
This January, along with Professor Doshi and other staff from XJTLU, Professor Kathpalia co-guided another workshop held under the joint auspices of Vastu Shilpa Foundation and XJTLU, which was joined by students from both China and India.
“I hope to foster more exchange, understanding and dialogue between two very ancient cultures in the areas of habitat and settlements especially on traditional water-based structures and settlements,” said Professor Kathpalia.
He further explained that in a world facing climate change and many other pressing issues, cross-cultural and cross-national co-learning is becoming increasingly significant.
Professor Kathpalia has previously visited the old town of Suzhou and Wuzhen, and he hopes to see and study more places like these. “I would like to understand the ancient wisdom that made these places and their relevance to contemporary cities in China, India and the world,” he said.
By Yi Qian, edited by Claudia Westermann