Published April 2019
Rajeev Kathpalia is a partner at Vāstu Shilpā Consultants (VSC), the multidisciplinary practice founded in 1955 by Pritzker Prize Laureate Balkrishna Doshi. Kathpalia’s work integrates fiscally and environmentally responsible strategies to create inclusive habitats for people. Renowned for his institutional designs, he has won national and international competitions for the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, and Nalanda University, among others.
Designing across a range of scales, Kathpalia’s practice encompasses regional and city plans, institutional campuses, individual buildings, and even furniture. His net-zero approach to campus design, which integrates architecture, landscape, ecology, energy generation, and management—both human and mechanical—while creating an equitable and inclusive social milieu, has set new benchmarks for sustainability and innovation.
Kathpalia serves as a trustee and former director of the Va–stu Shilpa– Foundation, the research-based, nonprofit branch of the firm. The organization creates environmental and habitat design for the poor, working extensively in informal settlements to create low-cost housing. He also runs the foundation’s International Habitat Studio program, which brings together students from across India and around the globe. He was recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award for Innovative Urban Design for his pioneering advocacy and design work on the inner city of Hyderabad within the Charminar precinct.
Kathpalia earned his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the Chandigarh College of Architecture and his Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Washington University. For the past 25 years, he has taught as a university professor, lecturing extensively in India and abroad, and receiving several honors and awards. He is a member of the board of studies at several urban design programs in India, and he has been a visiting faculty member at CEPT University (Ahmedabad) and the School of Planning and Architecture Delhi’s urban design program.