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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Sketches of urbanism and sustainability

Kaid Benfield

Posted September 15, 2010

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I've been really fortunate over the last decade-plus to get to know some of the country's very best architects and planners of smart, sustainable neighborhoods and communities.  Last night I ran into one of them, my friend Dhiru Thadani, at a reception and presentation. 

Dhiru's amazingly ambitious book, the 800-page The Language of Towns & Cities: a Visual Dictionary, will be released this fall.  He is not just remarkably talented but also passionately dedicated to the causes of sustainability and community in our built environment.  And, like many artists, he sketches.  And sketches.  He has graciously allowed me to share a few examples on the blog.  The captions are mine, mostly.  Enjoy:

  image courtesy of Dhiru Thadani

  Architecture studied and experienced

  image courtesy of Dhiru Thadani


  image courtesy of Dhiru Thadani

  Walkable grid

  image courtesy of Dhiru Thadani

  Architecture is like cooking

  image courtesy of Dhiru Thadani

  What is this?

  image courtesy of Dhiru Thadani


  image courtesy of Dhiru Thadani

  Prerequistes of architecture

Great stuff and, yes, those are self-portraits.  If you missed the DC reference, go back and look again. 

Dhiru has won national recognition for his work in residential design, university design and community redevelopment including four Charter Awards from the Congress for the New Urbanism, three awards from the American Institute of Architects and a Metropolitan Home “Home of the Year.”  In 2001-2002, he was selected a Knight Fellow with the Knight Program in Community Building.  He was appointed to the CNU Board of Directors in 2005.  Many thanks to Dhiru for sharing these sketches with me and allowing me to share them with you.

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.


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Laurence AurbachSep 15 2010 10:05 AM

It took some hunting, but I found the DC reference. And if you like that, rest assured that The Language of Towns and Cities includes extensive plans, photos, and essays about DC, the L'Enfant Plan, neighborhood profiles, and more. And DC is just one topic of the hundreds of topics that are covered. As the editor of the book and a contributor, I am extremely excited about its upcoming release!

Laurence QamarSep 15 2010 03:05 PM

Dhiru, Wonderful drawings and cartoons. The analogy between cuisine and urbanism is one I often think of, especially now as I am reading Pollan's 'In Defense of Food'. Cuisine and Civic Place are the two strongest forces in civilization and individual sustenance. Government policy and corporate mass production have brought us unhealthy artificial food and artificial sub-urbanism.

Lucien SteilSep 16 2010 12:10 AM

regarding cooking and architecture I like to recall that it is the equal quality of all components, even the less significant ingredients which determines a good dish. That's true for architecture and gastronomy.

Joyce MarinSep 16 2010 07:08 AM


Oliva-MeozSep 18 2010 08:17 PM

Beautiful hand drawings and patiently detailed.
We can't wait to the release of Dhiru's wonderful and rich book that one must have.

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