May 13, 2016
Christopher Benninger is one of India's most highly decorated architects. His well known award winning projects are the Mahindra United World College of India, the Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, the "Suzlon One Earth" world headquarters, the National Ceremonial Plaza at Thimphu, Bhutan, and his own studio and residence "India House" in Pune. Each project addresses the complex issues of design, context, climate, materials, sustainability, and technology, amidst the client's programmatic needs. Benninger studied urban planning at MIT and architecture at Harvard where he later taught. He settled in India in 1971 founding the School of Planning at Ahmedabad as a Ford Foundation Advisor where he continues as a Distinguished Professor. His name appears along side Geoffrey Bawa, Charles Correa and Balkrishna Doshi as one of the six recipients of the Great Master Architect Award in India presented every three years.
His firm, Christopher Charles Benninger Architects, has recently been awarded India's most sought after commissions: the Azim Premji University at Bengaluru; and the Indian Institute of Technology at Hyderabad, along with the Indian Institute of Management at Kolkata. His city and regional planning works range from Sri Lanka, across India to Bhutan. Benninger's projects reveal an understanding of "place making" and his narrative presents a language between American ideals embedded in its wooded Arcadian landscapes and sacred notions enshrined within Indian courtyards, generating a unique approach to architecture and place making.
Professor Christopher Charles Benninger's recent book, Letters To A Young Architect, focuses on the practice of architecture in developing societies, and was on the Top 10 Best Selling Non-Fiction Books List for 18 weeks in India, bringing to the general public ideas related to the built environment. The book is also translated into Chinese language and published from Shanghai. He will be signing copies of his new book during Cal Poly's Hearst Lecture.