Chakrabarti leaves SHoP to create new architecture firm

Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism already has Two Trees, Sidewalk Labs as clients

<em>SHoP's rendering of the Domino Sugar Refinery development and Vishaan Chakrabarti</em>
SHoP's rendering of the Domino Sugar Refinery development and Vishaan Chakrabarti

Vishaan Chakrabarti is on to his next project — without SHoP Architects.

Chakrabarti announced on Wednesday that after three years with SHoP, he’s leaving to create his own firm, the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism. The firm will focus on urban planning and design that creates an “ecological network of empowered citizens, generous buildings, discursive public space, strong infrastructure and a thriving urban environment,” he said. The firm will work in New York City and other urban areas in North America.

Over the past decade, Chakrabarti has worked on some of the city’s largest real estate projects at SHoP, which is behind the dancing towers at 626 First Avenue, the Barclays Center, Uber’s headquarters and 111 West 57th Street.

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He joined SHoP in 2012, where his work has included the redevelopment of the Domino Factory in Williamsburg, the Essex Crossing project in the Lower East Side, and the Talk Box, essentially a mobile pay phone with a recording device.

Chakrabarti previously served as the executive vice president of design and planning at Related Companies, where he worked on the Moynihan Station redevelopment project, which set out to expand Penn Station into the James A. Farley post office building. He left that position in 2009 to take over Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Prior to Related, Chakrabarti worked under the Bloomberg administration as the director of the Department of City Planning’s Manhattan office. In that role, he lent his expertise to Hudson Yards, the High Line and Columbia University’s expansion.

His new firm already counts Two Trees Management and Sidewalk Labs among its clients, he said. Chakrabarti told Politico that the split with SHoP was amicable. He plans to add eight to 10 people by mid-year, but doesn’t plan to poach from his former firm since “that’s not too kosher.”

“I just, I’m at this juncture where if I want to start my own firm and have my own voice and have a firm that’s very focused on architecture and urbanism and the city, then this my moment,” he told the website. [Politico, Crains] — Kathryn Brenzel