subscribe
free e-newsletter free e-newsletter
product info
advertise
FAQ
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
for premium web access
comment

Newsmaker: Vishaan Chakrabarti

April 2012

By Fred A. Bernstein

SHoP Architects
Photo courtesy SHoP
The noted urban planner Vishaan Chakrabarti (second from right) recently became a partner at SHoP Architects.

 

No one has a résumé like Vishaan Chakrabarti, a planner who has darted between the public and private sectors: as a top executive at Related Companies; a director at the New York City Planning Commission; an associate partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; a transportation planner for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and, most recently, as the director of Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE). In March, Chakrabarti became a partner at SHoP Architects. He will retain his position at Columbia while helping steer the Manhattan firm responsible for such projects as the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn. We recently reached Chakrabarti on his cell phone.

Architectural Record: Where are you right now?

Vishaan Chakrabarti: I’m walking on the High Line. I love seeing how the rezoning we devised at City Planning has engendered so much architectural experimentation. The only negative is that we worked very hard on an affordable housing plan for this neighborhood, but we may have underestimated the popularity of condos. I’m hopeful there will be more rental-building activity, and with it more affordability, during the next round of construction.

Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

AR: Are you excited about the Cornell/Technion campus planned for Roosevelt Island?

VC: Yes, but the jury is still out on the key question: If we’re going to bring this campus to New York City in an effort to diversify the economy, where will the businesses it spawns find space to grow? To fulfill the promise of the tech campus, there needs to be proximate, relatively cheap real estate, and the place I see that happening is Long Island City. It’s just a few subway stops from Midtown Manhattan, but it’s mostly one- and two-story buildings.

AR: So you favor increased density?

VC: Yes, in places that are well served by the subway, like Long Island City and Downtown Brooklyn. That’s why we need projects like Atlantic Yards.

AR: Designed by SHoP!

VC: Absolutely! The SHoP plan is tremendous—it’s going to create a great new neighborhood. And the goal to build modular housing could be a game-changer. Prefabricating buildings within New York City, which is what’s really being talked about, could become an important new industry.

AR: You’re well known for a project that will never be built: LoLo, the land bridge connecting Manhattan and Governors Island proposed last year by CURE.

VC: There has been so much down-zoning in the outer boroughs that we’ve limited our capacity to meet the needs of a growing population. The proposal was asking: Do we have to create more Manhattan?

AR: Why did you decide to join SHoP?

VC: I’ve known the partners for years, and I’ve watched it go from an avant-garde start-up to a 90-person firm. Now it’s SHoP 3.0—a global practice interested in large-scale urbanism. The hope is that my coming to the firm will send a concrete signal that we’re poised to build the skyscrapers, museums, and transportation infrastructure of the future.

This story appears in the May 2012 issue of Architectural Record.

comment

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
----- Advertising -----
McGraw-Hill Construction

Search Sweets

Example: Building Products, CAD, BIM, Catalogs
Search
Reader Feedback
Most Commented Most Recommended
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days