The Thirteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2011
Berkeley Prize 2011

Bio of Nalini Thakur

Professor Nalini M Thakur, Professor of Architectural Conservation

School of Planning and Architecture. 
Block 4 –B Indraprastha Estate, New Delhi-110002
Phone +919891271705

Professor Thakur is one of India’s foremost experts in the filde of heritage conservation. Her’s experience over three decades in the field of architecture and conservation ranges from activist, professional, teacher, mentor and academician.

She began her conservation training as a Fellow at ICCROM (UNESCO’s International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage) in 1982 after completing undergraduate study at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi (SPA). She became a full time Architectural faculty member School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi (SPA) there, and later pursued graduate studies at the University of York as their first Charles Wallace scholar.

The 1980’s was a period that witnessed the emergence of heritage conservation and its development worldwide as we know it today. Thakur was at the forefront of the movement in India.

After Following her ICCROM training, Thakur became utilized her professional expertise for the benefit of the community through the activities of the local architectural heritage group, the Conservation Society Delhi (CSD). She was an active founding member of the Conservation Society Delhi (CSD) CSD and brought Delhi’s heritage to her citizens by, among other activities, holding heritage walks on Sundays. Later, as President of CSD, Thakur organized a year long campaign called, “Historic Delhi World Heritage City”.

She also developed new approaches to architectural conservation at the SPA through innovative methods and frameworks for learning and teaching. Most significantly, she developed a holistic model that proposed an integrated way of development of “living” architectural heritage management from first principles. This framework approaches the challenge from a position of no authority by focusing on the knowledge potential of heritage and its relevance to long term benefits to create a society that is responsible to its resources.

Although her initial teaching at SPA focused on teaching architectural history and guiding “designing in context” studios, her work in conservation led her to be named as founding Professor in the newly inaugurated Department of Architectural Conservation at SPA, a post she still holds today. During her tenure she headed the program for ten years, and developed and ran the Masters Programme in Architectural Conservation.

Other high points in her long career, include:

- Numerous professional projects, highlighted by work at the World Heritage Sites of Champaner Pavagadh, Khajuraho, and Hampi. The most notable project is the Integrated Management Plan for Hampi, prepared for the Archaeological Survey of India. This contributed to the removal of the site from World Heritage’s endangered sites list.

- Developing a legal framework and new strategies such as the Archaeological Park to protect and manage archaeologically significant parts of the city of Delhi. The U.S. National Park Service supported CSD in this endeavour.

- Associated with the founding of the Asian Academy, an educational institution of ICCROM and UNESCO for heritage management education in the Asia Pacific, that is virtually located in Bangkok.

- Partner and Indian coordinator for the EU–Asia link project, MUMA (Multi-Disciplinary Management Strategies for Conservation and Use of Heritage in Asia and Europe.) Partners in this endeavor include the “World Heritage Studies” programme of Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus, Germany; Advanced Computer Graphics Group (GIGA), University of Zaragoza, Spain; and the Beijing Institute of Technology, Bejing, China.

- International academic collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, U.S.A.; Norwegian University of Science and Technoloy, Trondheim, Norway; and the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

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