Vishaan Chakrabarti accepts offer as next dean of UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design

Sam Albillo/Staff

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Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation professor Vishaan Chakrabarti will become the next dean of the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design, or CED, on July 1, 2020. Until then, campus architecture department chair Renee Chow will serve as the acting dean of CED.

In 2015, Chakrabarti founded the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, or PAU, an architecture and city planning office in New York City, according to the office’s website. The website also states that PAU’s objectives are for designers to “use both sides of their brains to be as creative as they are analytical,” to break down “disciplinary boundaries” and to expand “the definition of architecture.”

In a June 27 Twitter post, Chakrabarti announced that while working at UC Berkeley, he also plans to open a PAU office in California.

Chakrabarti has a dual bachelor’s degree in art history and engineering from Cornell University, a master’s degree in architecture from CED and a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chakrabarti began his professional academic life as a professor at Columbia in 2009, where he aided in major revisions and changes to the curriculum of Columbia’s Master of Science of Real Estate Development program.

Throughout his career, Chakrabarti has acted as a longtime social impact architect and urban planner, improving public spaces in New York City. He has also been involved in multibillion-dollar projects such as the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Station. In addition, Chakrabarti was the director of the Manhattan branch of New York City’s Department of City Planning for three years, where he helped to rebuild after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“Berkeley is truly a social mobility engine, helping scores of first generation college students, Pell grant recipients, and young people from every walk of life to pursue their dreams,” Chakrabarti said in a June 27 Facebook post. “I can’t think of a higher calling, honoring the academic and social passions of my late parents.”

The official announcement of Chakrabarti’s selection as dean was made by Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos.

“Professor Chakrabarti has remained a zealous advocate for our College of Environmental Design, and he impressed the CED dean search committee with his enduring support for the college,” the announcement said. “We are certain that he will continue to elevate CED’s stature as an influential, top-tier institution.”

Contact Yasmin Cristina Graeml at [email protected].