Lecture: Rahul Mehrotra

Rahul Mehrotra is Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Founded in 1990 in Mumbai, Mehrotra’s firm, RMA Architects, has designed and executed projects for clients ranging from government and non-governmental agencies to private individuals and institutions. RMA Architects has also initiated several unsolicited projects driven by the firm’s commitment to advocacy in the city of Mumbai. The firm recently finished a campus for the NGO Magic Bus, the restoration of the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad, and a conservation master plan for the Taj Mahal (with the Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative). The firm is now working on a social housing project for 100 elephants and their caretakers in Jaipur, as well as a corporate office in Hyderabad and several single family houses in different parts of India.

Since establishing RMA Architects, Mehrotra has long been actively involved in civic and urban affairs in Mumbai, having served on commissions for historic preservation and environmental issues, with various neighborhood groups, and, from 1994 to 2004, as Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute.

Mehrotra has also written and lectured extensively on issues to do with architecture, conservation, and urban planning in Mumbai and India. His writings include coauthoring Bombay – The Cities Within, which covers the city’s urban history from the 1600s to the present; Banganga – Sacred Tank; Public Places Bombay; Anchoring a City Line, a history of the city’s commuter railway; and Bombay to Mumbai – Changing Perspectives. He has also coauthored Conserving an Image Center – The Fort Precinct in Bombay. Based on this study and its recommendations, the historic Fort area in Mumbai was declared a conservation precinct in 1995 – the first such designation in India.

Other publications include books on the Victoria Terminus Station, a world heritage site, in Mumbai; and most recently, on that city’s Art Deco buildings. In 2000, he edited a book for the UIA that earmarks the end of the century and is titled The Architecture of the 20th Century in the South Asian Region. Mehrotra has also edited the first of the three books that document the 2004 Michigan Debates on Urbanism.

Mehrotra studied at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad (CEPT), and graduated with a master’s degree with distinction in Urban Design from the GSD. He has taught at the University of Michigan (2003–2007) and at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at MIT (2007–2010).


The George Baird Lecture was established in 2009 to recognize the outstanding service and contributions of Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Daniels Faculty George Baird. The named lecture is a fitting tribute to Baird, who believes that public programming is an essential element of an architecture school’s identity.

by UofTDaniels·

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Categories: Lectures


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