Holcim Foundation

Curriculum Vitae

Dilip da Cunha


Dilip da Cunha is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Design (PennDesign) at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.

He is visiting faculty at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology in Bengaluru/Bangalore, India and the Graduate School of Design (GSD), Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, USA.

Dilip da Cunha holds a BArch from Bangalore University (1982), a Master of Housing from the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi (1984), an MCP from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1989), and a PhD from the University of California (UC), Berkeley (1996).

He is author of The Invention of Rivers: Alexander’s Eye and Ganga’s Descent (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) that stems from questioning the natural status given to rivers and the imaging and imagining that this assumption has inspired. Far from being natural entities, he considers rivers to be products of a cultivated eye that privilege water at one moment in the hydrological cycle when it appears containable and controllable, and argues for an alternate ground for design and planning.

He is co-author with Anuradha Mathur of Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape (Yale UP, 2001); Deccan Traverses: The Making of Bangalore’s Terrain (Rupa, 2006); Soak: Mumbai in an Estuary (National Gallery of Modern Art/Rupa, 2009); and Design in the Terrain of Water (Applied Research & Design Publishing, 2014).

He was invited to lead a PennDesign team with Anuradha Mathur for a project Structures of Coastal Resilience, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation (2013-14). Their team’s focus was Norfolk and the Hampton Roads area of coastal Virginia where they are in dialog with local agencies, institutions, and the US Army Corps of Engineers on the future of coastal infrastructure and settlement in the face of sea level rise.

Dilip da Cunha was a workshop expert on Estuary Infrastructure at the 5th International Forum for Sustainable Construction dedicated to “Infrastructure Space” held April 7-9, 2016 in Detroit, USA.

Last Updated: January 01, 2018
Philadelphia, PA, USA
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