Dilip da Cunha
B.Arch., Bangalore University (1982)
Master of Housing, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi (1984)
M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1989)
Ph.D. in Planning Theory, University of California, Berkeley (1996)
Dilip da Cunha is an architect and planner. He is Adjunct Professor at the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. In collaboration with his partner Anuradha Mathur he is author of Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape (Yale University Press, 2001), Deccan Traverses: the Making of Bangalore's Terrain (Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2006) and Soak: Mumbai in an Estuary (Delhi: NGMA and Rupa & Co., 2009)
An underlying thread in Mathur and da Cunha's work is a concern for how water is visualized and engaged in ways that lead to conditions of its excess and scarcity, but also the opportunities that its fluidity offers for new visualizations of terrain, design imagination, and design practice. This concern has guided their recent research studios with Penn students in Mumbai and Jerusalem. In April, 2011 and 2012 they conceived and directed an international symposium, In the Terrain of Water, at Penn Design that is also being developed as a book. They are currently working on a project provisionally titled The Invention of Rivers. It stems from questioning the natural status given to rivers and the imaging and imagining that this assumption has inspired. Far from being natural entities, they argue that rivers are products of a cultivated eye that privilege water at one moment in the hydrological cycle when it appears containable and controllable. Through the alternative of a rain terrain - the appreciation of water everywhere before it is somewhere, they are researching an alternate ground for design and planning.
Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha: Landscape Beyond Urbanism interview for Landscape Architecture Australia