Sidewalk Labs Is First Client for Urbanist Architect’s New Firm – Next City

Sidewalk Labs Is First Client for Urbanist Architect’s New Firm

Rendering of Domino Sugar Refinery (Credit: SHoP Architects)

Architect and planner Vishaan Chakrabarti announced this week that he’s leaving New York-based SHoP Architects to start his own firm. While serving as a principal at SHoP since 2012, he’s been involved with efforts such as the Domino Sugar Refinery development in Williamsburg, and Talk Box, a project that used pay phones to connect citizens with reporters covering local issues. Chakrabarti’s work has earned him an urbanist rep.

“You’ll see a very strong focus on cosmopolitan architecture and strategic urbanism — how we’ll have an impact that’s very directly associated with cities,” Chakrabarti told Architects Newspaper. “That division — architecture and planning — is what makes cities work. It used to be that the professions were joined at the hip. You could think of architecture as an outcome of innovative planning. That’s no longer the case.”

His new firm, Partnership of Architecture and Urbanism, is, according to its website, “dedicated to the advancement of cities through cosmopolitan architecture and strategic urban planning.” The first client: Google-funded, city-innovation-focused Sidewalk Labs. (Sidewalk Labs’ first project is bringing free high-speed Internet to New Yorkers via old pay phones.)

While he hasn’t yet revealed details about what exactly he’ll be doing for Sidewalk Labs, Chakrabarti told Architects Newspaper that “work will prioritize ‘the future of the city and technology and how technology can create innovation and make our lives better by elevating quality of life. It thinks about everything from changes to the automobile to changes in how we use services in the city.’”

Partnership of Architecture and Urbanism will also work with Two Trees Management, the developer on the Domino Sugar Factory project.

Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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