Dhiru A. Thadani, AIA is an architect and urbanist who has taught, practiced, and worked to place architecture and urbanism in the public eye.
Dhiru A. Thadani, AIA is a consultant, architect, urbanist, and educator who has been in practice since 1980, and has worked on projects in Asia, Europe and North and Central America. Mr. Thadani was Principal and Director of Urban Design and Town Planning at Ayers/Saint/Gross from 2002 to 2009 and Design Partner in the Thadani Hetzel Partnership from 1987 to 2002. He has maintained a diversified practice in architecture and urban design since 1981, and worked in North and Central America, Europe and Asia. His experience includes urban design, town planning, architectural design, interior design, landscape design, construction management, graphic design, and rendering. In addition, Mr. Thadani has taught at various institutions in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Since its formation in 1993, he has been a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and was appointed to the Board in 2005.
Dhiru was born in Bombay, India and moved to Washington, D.C., to attend the Catholic University of America (CUA) from 1972–1978, where he received his undergraduate and graduate education in architecture. He has taught at several universities and actively lectures on urban issues the world over.
Since 1980, Dhiru has been the lead designer for many new development, urban retrofit, neighborhood revitalization, and infill densification projects. The projects range in scale from new towns for 500,000 inhabitants to smaller resort communities, as well asa small-scale residential infill interventions in revitalizing neighborhoods.
He has created neighborhoods that are walkable, and contain a balance and diverse range of workplaces and housing. In addition, these new developments reinforce regional planning for open space, and feature architecture that is responsive to the culture, climate, and context.
His interest in urban design and town planning started in the early 1980s after hearing a lecture by Andrés Duany. This prompted a series of design exercises to teach students principles and techniques of traditional urbanism and contextual architecture. In collaboration with Peter Hetzel he organized the freshman and sophomore design studios at Catholic University of America to study the then infantile Seaside morphology code and design buildings within the town of Seaside, before any homes were built there. The by-product of this studio exercise was a 1/16” = 1’-0” model of the entire town of Seaside, which measured 8’ x 16’.
Dhiru has undertaken several self-directed research initiatives to produce measured drawings and collect data on public open spaces, city plans, college towns, academic campuses, university related research parks, and the development of Washington, D.C. The methodical research has developed into an expertise in these fields, which has been incorporated into several award-wining projects. Between 2004 and 2008, Dhiru received four CNU Charter Awards, and three AIA Chapter Awards for projects that he was instrumental in designing. These include: the master plan for Vedanta University, Orissa, India, a new university to serve 100,000 students; a vision plan for the City of Long Beach, Mississippi, one of many cities along the gulf coast which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; master plan for the college town in Lexington, Kentucky; and for the revitalization plan for Macon, Georgia.
Since its formation in 1993, Dhiru has been a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and was appointed to the board in 2005. He is a 2001 Fellow of the Knight Program in Community Building, and was the 2011 recipient of the Seaside Prize.
He conceived and co-edited several books and publications on architecture, urbanism and architecture education. He is currently working on Visions of Seaside: Unbuilt Projects, an assemblage of unrealized projects by several architects, to be published in May 2012.
Dhiru resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Terry Schum, the Planning Director for the City of College Park, Maryland.
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