Rahul Mehrotra is Professor of Urban Design & Planning in the Department of Urban Planning & Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) in Cambridge, MA, USA.
He is a practicing architect, urban designer, and educator. His firm, RMA Architects was founded in 1990 in Mumbai and has designed and executed projects for clients that include government and non-governmental agencies, corporate as well as 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 has designed a software campus for Hewlett Packard in Bangalore, a campus for Magic Bus (a NGO that works with poor children), the restoration of the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad, and with the Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative (a conservation master plan for the Taj Mahal). The firm is currently 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.
His current research involves looking at India’s medium size cities and the broader emergent patterns of urbanism in India: focused on evolving a theoretical framework for designing in conditions of informal growth – what he refers to as the “Kinetic City”. He has run several studios looking at various aspects of planning questions in the city of Mumbai, under the rubric of “Extreme Urbanism”.
He was James Marston Fitch Historic Preservationist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome (Sept/Oct 2016). The select group of artists, practitioners, and scholars gather to pursue their work in an atmosphere conducive to intellectual exchange and innovation.
Rahul Mehrotra studied at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad (CEPT), India, and graduated with a master’s degree with distinction in Urban Design from the Harvard GSD. In 1995, he founded The Bombay Collaborative, an architectural conservation practice that also acts as a consultant to the Mumbai Environmental Action Group, INTACH, the Orient Foundation, and various neighborhood and citizens’ groups in Mumbai.
He was formerly Associate Professor at the College of Architecture & Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, USA (2003-07), and has also taught at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, USA (2007-10).
He has written and lectured extensively on architecture, conservation and urban planning issues related to Mumbai. He has co-authored Bombay: The Cities Within (Eminence, 2001), which covers the city’s urban history from the 1600s to the present; Banganga: Sacred Tank (Eminence, 1996); Public Places Bombay (Max Mueller Bhavan, 1996); Anchoring a City Line: The history of the Western Suburban Railway and its headquarters in Bombay, 1899-1999 (Eminence, 2000); and Bombay to Mumbai: Changing Perspectives (Marg, 1997); as well as Conserving an Image Center: The Fort Precinct in Bombay (Urban Research Design Institute). Based on this study and its recommendations, the historic Fort area was declared a conservation precinct in 1995.
He was a member of the jury of the Aga Khan Prize for Architecture in 2004.
He moderated the workshop Informal Urbanism: Between sanctioned and shadow orders at the 2nd LafargeHolcim Forum 2007 in Shanghai, and was a workshop presenter in Compact city: Sustainable or just sustaining economic law? at the 4th LafargeHolcim Forum 2013 in Mumbai. He was a workshop expert on Kumbh Mela in India, the world’s largest “disassemblable” city, at the 5th LafargeHolcim Forum 2016 in Detroit dedicated to “Infrastructure Space”.
Rahul Mehrotra was a member of the Global LafargeHolcim Awards jury 2012 and was Head of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury for Asia Pacific in 2014.