Katherine Chia and Arjun Desai are the founding principals of Desai Chia Architecture. Since 1996, they have established the firm’s reputation for authentic design, creating inspiring environments expressive of their use and materials; Desai Chia’s portfolio includes cultural, residential, and commercial projects as well as commissions for product design and collaborations with artists. Projects are currently in development throughout the United States and India.
Desai Chia’s projects have been published extensively and received numerous accolades including four American Architecture Awards, six American Institute of Architects Design Awards, four Interior Design Best of Year Awards, the IDEA Award, and several Good Design Awards. The firm’s work has been exhibited at the Center for Architecture, the Istanbul Bienniale, Salone del Mobile Milan, the Herman Miller showrooms in New York and LA, and Parsons The New School of Design.
Katherine Chia earned her Master of Architecture degree from M.I.T. and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College. Prior to founding Desai Chia Architecture, she worked for Maya Lin on numerous art and architecture commissions. Chia is a registered architect in the state of New York. She has also been a faculty member in the architecture department at Parsons The New School of Design. She is co-chair of the Van Alen Institute’s Program Leadership Council and an elected member of the AIA NY Finance Committee.
Arjun Desai grew up in New Delhi and Mumbai, India. Prior to founding Desai Chia Architecture, he worked at SHCA/NY on numerous civic projects in New York and Washington, D.C. He earned his Master of Architecture degree from M.I.T. and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennington College. Desai is a registered architect in the state of New York.
Our architecture celebrates conceptually bold design, deliberate eloquence, and graceful simplicity in order to better our collective experiences of space and place-making. We solve rigorous design problems for institutions, organizations and private clients, driven by our guiding principle that architecture can transform communities. The studio is known for two things: our preference for social and humane architecture, and iconic projects that benefit from our sustainable technical strategies and extensive knowledge of materials.
Rooted in our multidisciplinary background, we seek to blur the boundaries between building and nature through our hallmark approach of integrating light as a unifying theme. Each design opportunity is informed by previous projects and expertise, which allows us the latitude to conduct new research, challenge traditional expectations, and ask bigger questions in order to build inspired and spirited architecture. We nimbly navigate each step of the building’s design and execution: from the conceptual framework uniquely inspired by each client, to thoughtful, agile and tenacious project management, through to the final construction. The results are distinct, evocative, sustainable and enduring buildings, customized for a range of collaborative experiences that address each client’s particular needs.