Aneesha Dharwadker Earns 2022 New Faculty Teaching Award
Dharwadker’s teaching and scholarship examine globalization, colonialism, and social issues in relation to the built environment. Her courses cover a wide range of topics, including designing for the opioid epidemic and COVID-19; surveys and critiques of contemporary design practices; colonial resource extraction and its impact on cities; and landscape representation and construction. Her recent essays in Dialectic VII and Places Journal address relationships between colonialism and design pedagogy: she calls for a decolonization of introductory history and theory classes in American architecture programs and offers an alternative syllabus that juxtaposes “canonical” writings with voices from postcolonial and diasporic studies.
Dharwadker argues that a more comprehensive and honest positioning of global design ideas for architecture students will produce more sensitive and sustainable practitioners in the future. In the classroom, her teaching merges architectural and landscape architectural thinking through creative assignment design and syllabus content. Dharwadker has practiced architecture at SOM Chicago, CS&P (Toronto), Safdie Architects (Boston), and Booth Hansen (Chicago). In 2017, she founded Chicago Design Office, an architectural design and urbanism practice. Her recent commissions, exhibitions, and competition submissions address social and infrastructural problems in the United States, tying in with themes from her teaching and research at Illinois. She received an MDesS in History and Philosophy of Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a BArch from Cornell University.