DILIP DA CUNHA is an architect and planner. He is faculty at Parsons School of Design, New York and the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. In collaboration with his partner Anuradha Mathur he has focused his artistic and design expertise on cultural and ecological issues of contentious landscapes. An underlying thread in their work is a concern for how water is visualized and engaged in ways that lead to conditions of its excess and scarcity, but also the opportunities that its fluidity offers for new visualizations of terrain, design imagination, and design practice. Da Cunha is currently working on a new book provisionally titled The Invention of Rivers. It stems from questioning the natural status given to rivers and the imaging and imagining that this assumption has inspired. Far from being natural entities, he argues that rivers are products of a cultivated eye that privilege water at one moment in the hydrological cycle when it appears containable and controllable. Through the alternative of a rain terrain – the appreciation of water everywhere before it is somewhere – da Cunha is researching an alternate ground for design and planning.
He is author (with Anuradha Mathur) of Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape (Yale University Press, 2001); Deccan Traverses: The Making of Bangalore’s Terrain (Rupa & Co., 2006), and Soak: Mumbai in an Estuary (National Gallery of Modern Art / Rupa & Co., 2009).