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About me

I am Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster and was Director of Architectural Research from 2012 to 2017. I am currently holder of Monsoon Assemblages, European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant no. 679873, investigating the confluence of changing monsoon weather and neoliberal agendas in south Asian cities. I was previously Professor of Architecture and Chair in the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia (2006 - 2011) and Chair of Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (1998 - 2004). I am an award-winning architect and writer and have published, lectured and exhibited widely. My published work includes ‘Sedimentary logics and the Rohingya Refugee camps in Bangladesh’ (2020), 'Planning the Chennai Floods' (2020),  'Thinking architecture from an Indian Ocean aquapelago' (2016), 'Fluid Ontologies in the Search for MH370' (2014),  'Folded Ocean: The Spatial Transformation of the Indian Ocean World' (2013),  'The Politics of Rising Acid Mine Water' (2013) and Writing the City into Being: Essays on Johannesburg 1998 - 2008 (2010), winner of the Jane Jacobs Book Award in 2011. I hold M. Arch and DSc. Arch degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a B.Arch degree from the University of Cape Town.

Teaching

I  have taught architectural design and theory of design at all levels, from the first year of the undergraduate degree to the final year of the graduate degree, at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, (1983-2004) Temple University in Philadelphia (2006-2011) and the University of Westminster in London (2012 onwards). I was a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I taught an advanced graduate design studio (2005). 

I have been invited as a visiting lecturer or design critic to many institutions in the world, including the AA, the Bartlett and the RCA in London, the Berlage Institute, Rotterdam; the Centre of Contemporary Culture, Barcelona; Columbia University, New York; Cornell University, Ithaca NY; Documenta Platform 11, Lagos; Harvard University, Boston MA; House of World Cultures, Berlin; International Architecture Symposium Pontresina, Switzerland; Quito Architecture Biennale, Ecuador; University of California, Berkeley, CA; University of Cape Town; University of Cordoba, Argentina; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MI; University of Pavia, Italy; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA; University of Princeton, NJ; Universita della Svizzera Italiana, Mendrisio, Switzerland and elsewhere.

Research

Current research

I am currently (2016 - 2021) the Principal Investigator of Monsoon Assemblages, ERC Starting Grant no. 679873,  an interdisciplinary design-driven inquiry into the impacts of changing monsoon climates in three of South Asia’s rapidly growing cities: Chennai, Delhi and Dhaka (see http://www.monass.org). 

I am also a Co-Principal Investigator (with Jonathan Cane of the University of Pretoria, South Africa and Euclides Gonvalves of Kaleidoscopio, Maputo, Mocambique) of Sounding the Monsoon, a one year planning grant (2020-2021) awarded by the United States' Social Science Research Council. 

Research Group

I was Director of Architectural Research in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (2012-2017) and currently co-ordinate the Expanded Territories Research Group. 

Research Appointments

I am on the advisory board for Contested Territories and the editorial boards of AU-STEAM, and UR Journal. I have also served as a Commissioning Editor for the Journal of Architecture, and as a reviewer for the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Cities, City and Society, Building Research & Information, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Social Dynamics, Architectural Histories and as a member of the Scientific Committee for the Colonial and Postcolonial Urban Planning in Africa Conference, University of Lisbon, 2013 and the African Perspectives Conference, University of Pretoria and the Delft University of Technology, 2009. I was London School of Economics and Political Science Urban Age Programme Advisor, 2006-2009 and continue to serve as a South African Research Foundation (NRF) Research Rating Referee. 

Research Students

I am currently Director of Studies for: 

Phillip Leuhl: Rethinking Architectural Practice as an active Agent of Socio-Spatial Decolonization in Namibia (2019)

Harshavardhan Bhat: In Search of Monsoon Air (2021)

Anthony Powis: Unsustainable Abstraction - Reading Chennai through Groundwater (2021)

Previous students include:

May Aljamea (2018) Lilit Mnatsakanyan (M. Phil 2017), John Walter (2017), Sarah Milne (2016), Jason Pomeroy (2016), Nabil Ahmed (2014), Izis Salvador Pinto (2014)