Kapila Silva Awarded ARCC New Researcher Award
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Congratulations to EDRA member Kapila D. Silva, who was recently awarded the Architectural Research Centers Consortium “New Researcher Award”, which acknowledges innovation, dedication and leadership in architectural and environmental design research. Dr. Silva is an assistant professor at the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning at the University of Kansas. He has previously taught at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, from where he received professional training in architecture and historic preservation, and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, from where he received a doctorate.
His research, in its broadest sense, focuses on the social, cultural, and psychological dimensions of architecture, urbanism, and historic preservation, specifically on non-western traditions, and within which, a particular concentration on the South, Southeast, and East Asian contexts. In narrower terms, his research has so far been on the global cultural heritage conservation, addressing theoretical and pragmatic issues related to UNESCO’s World Heritage Program, which attempts to preserve and manage historic monuments and sites with outstanding universal value, significance, and rarity. The particular attention of this research program has been on the ways of identifying and conserving symbolic dimensions in historic places and ways of balancing conservation concerns with development needs within historic urban areas. For this purpose, he has developed the notion of imageability of place as an integrative framework for urban heritage management that connects conservation and development planning together. In this framework, historic preservation has been re-conceptualized as an attempt to manage the imageability of the historic place.
In addition, Dr. Silva has been studying vernacular environments in the above-mentioned region, developing theoretical framework to study those environments and derive lessons for contemporary architectural situations, such as community design and post-disaster resettlement housing. He has co-edited Asian Heritage Management: Contexts, Concerns, and Prospects (Routledge, 2013, with Dr. Neel Kamal Chapagain) and co-authored two books on specific vernacular building types in Sri Lanka (published by the University of Moratuwa in 1999 and 2002, with Mr. Dhammika Chandrasekera); one of the latter books (Tampita Viharas in Sri Lanka) was awarded the Michael Ventris Memorial Award by the Architectural Association of UK in 1998.