SHoP Architects’ Vishaan Chakrabarti Starting Own Firm Dedicated to Advancement of Cities

October 21, 2015

Less than a month ago, 6sqft noticed that prominent architect Vishaan Chakrabarti, a principal at starchitecture firm SHoP, had sold his Flatiron loft for $5 million. We speculated as to why he was selling the massive pad, and though we’re still not sure, we do know he won’t be departing NYC any time soon. A press release put out today announces that Chakrabarti is leaving SHoP (he’s already been removed from the website’s staff page) to start his own firm, called the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), which will focus on the advancement of cities. According to the statement, the new NY-based firm will work “to advance groundbreaking architecture and urbanism projects to build the physical, economic, social and cultural networks of cities with an emphasis on beauty, function and user experience.”

Vishaan Chakrabarti joined SHoP three years ago. He previously served as the director of the Manhattan office for the Department of City Planning, as well as a senior executive at the Related Companies. Currently, he’s also a professor at the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia. At PAU, he will offer two main services, architecture and strategic planning, and has already lined up clients that include Sidewalk Labs and Two Trees Management, with whom the firm will work on a new cultural building in Manhattan.

If PAU’s goals sound a little abstract, the services are broken down on their website:

What we do.
Cultural and Institutional Projects
Public Sector and Infrastructure Projects
Projects engaging Technology and the Future of the City
Public Space Design
Urban Master Planning
Commercial Office Buildings
Multi-Family Residential Buildings
Mixed Use Projects including Hotel and Retail
Transit-Oriented Development
Projects of Social Impact
Strategic Advice and Advocacy

What we don’t do.
Single-Family Suburban Homes
Interior Design
Correctional Facilities
Small-scale Renovations
Work in non-democratic nations
Work in nations with poor labor practices
Construction Documents

Chakrabarti said in the statement: “We are at the beginning stages of a historic urban expansion. With a thorough understanding of the transforming 21st-century cosmopolitan landscape, the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism will use design, architecture and urban planning to create an ecological network of empowered citizens, generous buildings, discursive public space, strong infrastructure and a thriving urban environment.” In a more informal chat with New York Magazine, he said: “I turn 50 next month, which is young in this profession. I’m at this threshold moment where I can synthesize an unusually broad background. It’s a very different proposition than starting a firm when you’re 25. I’m not going to be doing kitchens and bathrooms. I can handle large-scale work and complex work.”


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