Architect – Academic – Activist: Pushing the Boundaries of Architecture and Heritage at Taylor’s University
Being an architect is more than just thinking about the buildings. Dr. Joshi has been recognised for focusing on the role of architect as facilitator in developing architectural ‘design with people’ to construct a social and cultural fabric for the community.
Dr. Nikhil Joshi likes to challenge his students to consider how building heritage can matter to communities, and how community engagement can inform the architectural design process. Reflecting on some work he did with Taylor’s students with the Community Architects Network in Penang, he pointed out that, “Heritage means more than just mere identity, continuity and accumulated layers of memories. We want to encourage students to understand that vernacular heritage is not only about preserving the past, but that such practices of heritage preservation can be a tool for communities to come together as one in the neighbourhoods revitalisation, economic growth, and sustainability, helping people cope with pressures of urban society, and secure their future“.
Dr. Joshi joined the School of Architecture, Building and Design (SABD) at Taylor’s University in 2013, having lived and worked in India, the UK and Singapore – where he was awarded a scholarship to complete his Doctoral studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He has become well known for his views on the importance of heritage conservation and its practical application in Asia. Late last year, he was invited to speak on “The Future of Malaysian Vernacular Timber Architecture” at ASEAN-International Conference “Timber Heritage and Cultural Tourism Conference” in Thailand. In addition, his contributions to architecture have recently been recognised by a number of international bodies, including the Venus International Foundation.
Established in India to recognise a limited number of outstanding individuals every year, their annual research awards celebrate creative minds by recognising researchers who are committed to find solutions to some of the daunting challenges facing the world. In their inaugural awards given in late-2015, Dr. Nikhil Joshi was recognised with a Young Scientist (Architecture) VIFRA-Award, along with other notable Indian-nationals working at institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Furthermore, in early-2016, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in the UK.
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