Christopher Benninger
Chief Guest

The renowned Indo-American Architect Christopher Benninger will be the chief guest at Gallopper Talks 2018. 

Click here to watch a message from him.

Born in 1942, Prof. Benninger grew up in America where he was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's organic architecture as a boy. At the age of twelve, he read 'The Natural House' by Wright, which left an indelible mark on him, that can be seen in his work today. He studied urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and architecture at Harvard University where he later because a professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design. 

He started his career by working under the famous Spanish architect Jose Luis Sert and learnt a lot from him. This experience brought him in contact with the "European School" of thought where abstraction, and a separation between nature and built form, played important roles. His association with Barbara Ward brought him into the Delos Symposium group where he was associated closely with Constantinos Doxiadis, Buckminister Fuller, Margarete Mead and Arnold Toynbe. He came to India on a Fullbright Fellowship in 1968, and later as a Ford Foundation consultant to set up the School of Planning at Ahmedabad (1972) jointly with Padmashree Balkrishna. V. Doshi. Since then, he has been living and working in the South Asian region for overy forty years. Some labeled this as a "self-imposed exile." 

Prof Benninger define his firm as, "CCBA is a laboratory of exploration and experimentation where search and research for solutions to our clients' problems and aspirations. We analyze the parameters and factors that define physical products, which are affordable, durable, functional, ecological and beautiful. Our firm has always functioned as a studio, only taking up projects involving study, analysis and exploration of visual, spatial, formal, social and technological ideas and concepts related to architecture, urbanism and human settlements. "As architects we bring to the context more than just these utilitarian goals…we seek the poetry in the place, the lyricism in the built-forms and vibrancy in the inhabitants' lives." 

The firm CCBA has received over 35 awards and citations. Recently, it has been awarded with India's most sought after commissions: the Azim Premji University at Bengaluru; and the Indian Institute of Technology, in Hyderabad, along with the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata. Prof Benninger's expansive campuses reveal an understanding of Indian "place making" reflecting the great temple complexes and the Mogul campuses. His narrative presents a language that lies 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. 

Prof Benninger has lectured at many countries / cities including Germany, Austria, Berlin, India (Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Cochin, Chandigrah, Indore, and Kolkata) etc. 

He has been on the Board of the United States Education Foundation of India (Fulbright Foundation), Member of the Bureau of Indian Standards, and on the Board of University Teaching and Research at the University of Pune. He is a Distinguished Professor at CEPT, Ahmedabad and on the Governing Council of the World Society of Ekistics at Athens. He is Statutory Member of the Board of Governors of the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi. 

Moreover, Prof Benninger is the founder of the Center for Development Studies and Activities at Pune (1976). After heading the institute for twenty years, he relinquished the management of CDSA to become fully involved in his design studio. 

In addition to above, he has been an advisor to the Planning Commission, to the Ministries of Urban Development, Rural Development, Social Welfare and Home Affairs (GOI). He has also been a consultant to the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the UN-FAO, UN-ESCAP, UNICEF, UNCHS [Habitat] and many urban development authorities. Under these consultancies, he has prepared urban and regional development plans for India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.