Dhiru

Dhiru A. Thadani is an architect and urbanist who has been in practice since 1978. As a design principle and partner for more than thirty years, he has completed projects the world over, and he continues to provide a broad range of consulting services in architecture and urban design.

Dhiru A. Thadani, AIA, APA, FCNU, ISOCARP, NOMA, is an architect, author, educator, and urbanist who has been in practice since 1980.  He has worked to disseminate principles and techniques of traditional town planning on five continents by sharing research, lecturing, mentorship, and working on projects. He has been the principal designer of new towns and cities, urban regeneration, neighborhood revitalization, academic campuses, and infill densification projects.

Dhiru was born in Bombay, India, and moved to Washington, D.C., in 1972 to study architecture. During his forty-nine years in Washington, D.C. he has taught, practiced, and strived to place traditional architecture and urbanism principles in the public eye. Since its formation in 1993, Dhiru has been a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and served as Task Force Chair and Board Member from 1997 to 2013.  Dhiru’s professional work has been recognized by the AIA, ISOCARP, and eight CNU Charter Awards. 

In 2022, he was elected Board Chair of the CNU DC Chapter and the chapter he co-founded in 2005.  In 2016 he was elected to be Vice President of Membership and Treasurer for the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).  In 2015 he was appointed to the inaugural CNU College of Fellows and received the International Society of City and Regional Planners’ Lifetime Achievement Award.  He is the recipient of the 2011 Seaside Prize, an award given for significant contributions to the quality and character of communities.  In 2001 he was a Knight Foundation Community Builder Fellow.

Dhiru is the author of The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary, published by Rizzoli in 2010, and was co-editor of Leon Krier: The Architecture of Community, published by Island Press in 2009.  Since its genesis, Thadani has documented the history and influence of Seaside, Florida, the first new urbanism project.  He has authored two volumes of the town. Visions of Seaside: Foundations / Evolution / Imagination / Built & Unbuilt Architecture was published by Rizzoli in September 2013, and Reflections on Seaside: Muses, Ideas, Influences, and New & Future Projects, was published by Rizzoli in April 2021.  In 2022, Dhiru published Washington  Drawings Abe to Zoo, a book of his drawings on the city.

Dhiru is currently researching and documenting 100+ American towns across all 50 states.  The graphic research typologically classifies the towns and follows their reason for establishment, historical growth, street pattern, topography, density, transportation network and accessibility, and economic drivers.

Since 2013, Dhiru has been working on regeneration efforts for the neglected and disinvested neighborhoods within Atlanta’s Westside.  He was initially retained to develop a master plan for the 66-acre campus of Morehouse College.  Understanding that the mission of the College could not be achieved without a safe and thriving neighborhood context, research was undertaken in surrounding areas.  Enlisting funds from Atlanta’s commercial and philanthropic groups, the scope expanded to cover 1,700 acres of blighted historic urban fabric less than one mile from downtown. 

In 2021, Thadani’s team was selected to update the master plan for Spelman College, the first private institution to educate women of color.  Founded in 1881, the college is a global leader in educating women of African descent. It is located within the Westside and is part of the Atlanta University Center academic consortium in Atlanta.

Other significant projects include a new city in China for a million inhabitants, several new high-density urban neighborhoods in India, and continued work at Seaside improving the public realm and the addition of buildings to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

1976 – 1978
Teaching Assistant, Catholic University of America

1977
Teaching Assistant, Architectural Association

1980 – 1986
Assistant Professor of Architecture, CUA

1982 Director,
Foreign Studies Program, CUA

1982 – 1986
Director of Visual Studies, CUA

1991
Director, Graduate Thesis Research, CUA

1993
Visiting Critic, University of Miami

1990 – 1994
Adjunct Professor of Architecture, University of Maryland

2005 – Present
Masterclass Instructor in Urban Design & Planning in five continents

PROFESSIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE

1976 – 1978
Freelance Architectural Renderer

1978 – 1980
Partner, Chapman & Associates

1980 – 1987
Principal, Thadani Architects

1987 – 2000
Partner, Thadani Hetzel Partnership

2000 – 2009
Partner, Ayers/Saint/Gross

2010 – Present
Principal, Thadani Architects + Urbanists

SELF-DIRECTED RESEARCH PROJECTS

Throughout my professional career,  oughout my , Throughout my professional career, I have dedicated one-quarter of my personal time to service and advancement of the discourse on architecture and urbanism.

1983 – 1996
Documenting the Monumental Core of Washington DC to make a Nolli based map of 7.5 square miles of the city. The CAD files of the data were donated to the AIA DC Chapter for sale to fund architectural education in DC’s inner-city public schools.

1996 – 2007
Research and documentation of renowned Public Spaces. Printed posters of the drawings were freely shared at conferences, such as CNU and APA.

2000 – 2009
Prepared figure-ground diagrams for ancient and modern cities. Printed posters of the drawings were freely shared at conferences, such as CNU, SCUP, and APA.

1999 – 2009
Prepared figure-ground diagrams of American University Campuses. Printed posters of the drawings and data were freely shared at conferences, such as SCUP.

1999 – 2009
Researched and documented College Towns across America to synthesize data on density, retail, commercial, institutional, and recreational uses.

2005 – 2009
Researched and documented University Related Research Parks across America to synthesize data on planning paradigms, use, and density.

2014 – Present
I am currently researching and documenting in excess of 110 small towns in America from all 50 States, in preparation for the publication of a book of strategies for regeneration, economic development, and accommodating the burgeoning national population.

FUNDING GRANT SOURCES FOR PUBLICATIONS AND RESEARCH

1. Prince Charles’ Foundation, London UK khkhhnkn Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ion RRobert  J   son  Windsor Forum on Design Education: Toward an Ideal Curriculum to Reform Architectural Education

2. Richard Driehaus Foundation, Chicago, Illinois FouC Léon Krier: The Architecture of Community

3. National Endowment for the Arts, Washington DC
The Language of Towns & Cities: A Visual Dictionary

4. Center for Applied Transect Studies, Miami, Florida Visions of Seaside: Foundation, Evolution, Imagination, Built & Unbuilt Architecture

5. National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington DC for research on Small Towns in America

CONFERENCES ORGANIZED

“Building the City III: Where Nature and the City Meet”
Coordinated and fund-raised for the third annual symposia at the Smithsonian Institution, to commemorate the bicentennial of Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s plan for Washington, DC. Speakers included: Leon Krier, Steven Peterson, Andres Duany, Lawrence Speck, Carroll William Westfall, Jack Burnham, Diana Agrest, Patrick Pinnell, and was moderated by Steven W. Hurtt, April 1991.

“Five Architects: Twenty Years Later”
Conceived, coordinated, and fund-raised for a lecture series, exhibition, and publication of a catalogue commemorating the 1972 publication of Five Architects. Professor Kenneth Frampton, who contributed one of the essays in the original book, gave the introductory lecture to the series. Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, and Richard Meier lectured during the Fall Semester 1992, and John Hejduk delivered the final lecture in the series in the Spring Semester 1993. Exhibitions of the work of the Five were installed to coincide with the lecture series. The lectures and exhibitions were hosted at the School of Architecture, University of Maryland, and the audience at each lecture was in excess of 500 attendees.

“Making Towns: Principles & Techniques”
Conceived, coordinated, and fund-raised for a lecture series and publication of a catalogue focusing on the design and planning of traditional towns. Lecturers and contributors to the catalogue included: Peter Katz; Daniel Solomon; Victor Dover; Andres Duany; and Tony Hiss. The lectures were hosted by the School of Architecture, the University of Maryland in the Fall Semester 1993.

“CNU XI: Ideals to Reality / The Evolving City”
I was instrumental in organizing and fund-raising for the first meeting of the Congress for the New Urbanism in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1993. I have actively participated in content discussions and delivered topical lectures at all thirty congresses. I was Chair of the host committee for the eleventh congress held in Washington DC, June 2003.

“Seaside Institute”
From 2011 to 2019, I have been actively involved in organizing several symposia for the Seaside Institute. These have included content for the Seaside Prize events; colloquiums on Aging with Grace; the Future Symphony Institute conference; several two- and three-day meetings to discuss New Urbanism principles and techniques; and discussions on the future of the first new urbanism town, Seaside.

KEYNOTES & LECTURES

I have lectured on a range of topics dealing with Architecture, Public & Private Realms, Sustainable Development, Walkable Cities, and Urbanism throughout the world. I have organized several lecture series and symposia for the Seaside Institute and the DC Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism. In 2010, I organized a four-week traveling Master Class and Colloquium along with Rob and Léon Krier. We traveled to universities in Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States. In 2019, I delivered keynotes, and lectures, and participated in panel discussions in India, China, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, and Serbia. I have delivered lectures and keynote speeches at the following venues:

1. 100+ Forum Ekaterinburg, Russia
2. Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, UAE
3. Academy of Environmental Planning & Design, Nanjing, China
4. AECOM, Planning and Architecture, Abu Dhabi, UAE
5. Aging with Grace Conference, Seaside, Florida
6. American Institute of Architects – Various Chapters
7. American Planning Association, Annual Conference and at Various Chapters
8. American University of Sharjah, UAE
9. Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan
10. Arlington County, Planning Commission, Arlington, Virginia
11. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Annual Conference
12. Australian Institute of Architecture, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Australia
13. Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden
14. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
15. Balkan Architectural Biennale, Belgrade, Serbia
16. Baltimore College Network, Baltimore, Maryland
17. Baltimore Planning Commission, Baltimore, Maryland
18. Books & Books, Coral Gables, Florida
19. Bookworm Bookstore Author’s Lecture Series, Beijing, China
20. Boston Greenfest, Boston, Massachusetts
21. British Council, Mumbai, India
22. Carnegie Mellon University, David Lewis Lecture & Remaking Cities, Pittsburgh, PA
23. Catholic University of America, Washington DC
24. CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India
25. Chandigarh School of Architecture, India
26. Chicago Architectural Foundation, Illinois
27. Chick-fil-A Foundation, Annual Senior Management Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia
28. Chongqing University, China
29. City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa
30. Club of Rome, Brussels, Belgium
31. Coalition for Smarter Growth, Washington DC
32. Colin Rowe Symposia, Rome, Italy
33. Connecting Cities, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
34. Council for European Urbanism (CEU), Viseu, Portugal
35. Courtyard Institute (Hutong), Beijing, China
36. Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) Annual Conference and Chapter events
37. CNU Charter Councils, Charleston & Santa Fe
38. College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine
39. Damascus Regional Centre for Sustainable Local Development, Syria
40. DC/AIA Washington Design Week, Washington DC
41. Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
42. Department of Planning and Zoning, Miami-Dade County, Miami
43. Design Matters, Eco-Districts Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
44. Garraf Comarca, Sitges, Spain
45. Green Infrastructure Conference, Bangalore, India
46. Guangzhou Planning Bureau, China
47. ETH Zurich, School of Planning, Switzerland
48. Fantastic Film Festival, Sitges, Spain,
49. Faster Forward, Perm, Russia
50. Fayette Forward, Inaugural Conference, Fayette County, Georgia
51. From Concept to Spade Conference, Sweden
52. Future Symphony Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland
53. Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia
54. Indian Institute of Architects, Annual Conference, Bangalore, India
55. Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, India
56. Indonesian Association of Urban & Regional Planners, Jakarta, Indonesia
57. Institute of Classical Architecture (ICA), Atlanta, Georgia
58. Institute of Design and Urban Studies of ITMO University, St. Petersburg, Russia
59. Inter-America Development Bank, Washington DC
60. International Forum on Inheritance & Innovation of Development Zones, Xi’an, China
61. International Network for Traditional Building Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU)
62. International Planning Symposium, Seaside, Florida
63. International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP), Annual Congresses
64. International Spatial Planning Forum, St. Petersburg, Russia
65. Island Press, Book Launch, Washington DC
66. Kentlands Citizens Assembly, Gaithersburg, Maryland
67. KTH Royal School of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
68. Lafayette Lecture, Lexington, Kentucky
69. League of Cities National Conference, Washington DC
70. Lunch & Learn at several Architecture and Planning Offices
71. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
72. Mazdar Institute, Sustainable Development & Planning, UAE
73. Millennium Gate Foundation, Atlanta, GA
74. Montgomery County, Planning & Management, Rockville, Maryland
75. Movement for Israeli Urbanism, Tel Aviv, Israel
76. Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia
77. Moscow Institute of Architects, Russia
78. Nacka Municipality, Saltsjobaden, Sweden
79. Nanjing Planning Bureau, China
80. National Building Museum, Washington DC
81. National Capital Park and Planning, Silver Spring, Maryland
82. National Capital Planning, Washington DC
83. New Urbanism and Beyond Stockholm, Sweden
84. Norfolk Planning Council, Norfolk, Virginia
85. Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
86. Oslo School of Architecture & Design, Norway
87. Oxford University, UK
88. Pomodoro University, Jakarta, Indonesia
89. Rachna Sensed Academy of Architecture, India
90. Raheja School of Architecture, Mumbai, India
91. Railvolution Annual Conferences
92. Royal Technical University of Sweden, Stockholm
93. Rizzoli Publishers, Book Launch, New York
94. Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai, India
95. Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Georgia
96. Savannah Downtown Business Association, Savannah, Georgia
97. Seaside Institute, Tradition Town Planning Training
98. School of Chief Architect, Ekaterinburg, Russia
99. Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center, China
100. Sir J. J. School of Architecture, Mumbai, India
101. Society of Nepalese Architects, Kathmandu, Nepal
102. School of Planning, Nanjing University, China
103. School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, India
104. Sorbonne, School of Planning, Paris, France
105. Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, UAE
106. Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia
107. SPUR, San Francisco, California
108. Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
109. The Rome Club, Brussels, Belgium
110. Technical University of Perm, Russia
111. The Interior Design Center, Ekaterinburg, Russia
112. The Prince of Wales’ Institute of Architecture, UK
113. The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, UK
114. The Union of Architects of Russia, Moscow, Russia
115. The World Bank, Washington DC
116. Tongji University, Shanghai, China
117. Town Green Special Services District, New Haven, Connecticut
118. United Nations Habitat, Prague, Czech Republic
119. United States Green Building Council, Washington DC
120. Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala
121. Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico
122. University of Beijing, China
123. University of Bologna, Italy
124. University of California Berkeley, California
125. University of Hartford, Connecticut
126. University of Lódz, Poland
127. University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
128. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
129. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
130. University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
131. University of Mississippi, Starksville, Mississippi
132. University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
133. University of Perm, Russia
134. University of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia
135. University of Texas, Arlington, Texas
136. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
137. Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai, India
138. Urban Forum, Moscow, Russia
139. Urban Land Institute, Washington DC
140. Urban Mobility, Gdynia, Poland
141. Urban Planning China, Beijing
142. Urban Planning Society of China, Beijing
143. Urban Thinking Festival, Brasov, Romania
144. US Green Building Council
145. Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk, Virginia
146. Vision of Europe, Bologna, Italy
147. Westside Future Fund, Atlanta, Georgia
148. World Green Infrastructure Network, Warsaw, Poland
149. Wyndham City Council, Australia
150. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

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