Vinayak Bharne

Adjunct Associate Professor, USC School of Architecture and USC Sol Price School of Public Policy


B.Arch, Goa University M.Arch. University of Southern California Presidential Fellow, USC Marshall School of Business

Vinayak Bharne is an inter-disciplinary faculty member teaching simultaneously in the graduate architecture, landscape architecture, and heritage conservation programs. He conducts seminars on global architecture and urbanism and coordinates international studios on urban design and planning. He is also an Affiliated Faculty at the USC East Asian Studies Center, and Associated Faculty at the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

Bharne is Principal at Moule & Polyzoides Architects and Urbanists in Pasadena and leads the firm's urban design and city planning efforts. His professional work ranges from satellite cities, new towns, district master plans, resort-villages, campuses and housing for corporate, private and institutional clients; to urban regulations, policies and strategic advising for government and non-government agencies in the United States, Canada, India, Australia, China, United Arab Emirates, Panama, Kenya and Mauritius. His projects have received numerous local and national awards. These include the 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - Overall Excellence by the United States Environmental Protection Agency; the 2013 Pinnacle Award from the International Downtown Association; and the Excellence in Planning Implementation Award from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association.

His research explores contemporary urbanism in Asia and Latin America, specifically the intersection of urban informality and low-income housing; the nexus of urban design and water stress; the conservation of vernacular habitats; and the urbanism of sacred territories. His ongoing design-research projects include The Banaras Initiative – a strategic plan for one of India’s oldest sacred cities; The Complete Ise Shrine - a conservation plan for the sacred territory of Japan's oldest Shinto shrine; and CiudadBosque – an urban design plan for “foresting” the metropolitan area of the Republic of Panama’s capital city.

His books include Affordable Housing, Inclusive Cities (ORO, 2019); Routledge Companion to Global Heritage Conservation (Routledge 2019); The Emerging Asian City: Concomitant Urbanities & Urbanisms (Routledge, 2012); Zen Spaces & Neon Places: Reflections on Japanese Architecture and Urbanism (AR+D Publishing, 2014); and Rediscovering the Hindu Temple: The Sacred Architecture & Urbanism of India, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012.) 

He has also authored chapters in books such as The New Companion to Urban Design; Sustainable Nation; Aesthetics of Sustainable Architecture; Planning Los Angeles; and Chandigarh Rethink. His articles have been published by Journal of Architectural Education, Urban Design Quarterly, Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat, Monocle, The Times of India, China Architectural Heritage, Japan Foundation etc. He is Co-director of the India-Netherlands-based knowledge platform My Liveable City, and the Executive Editor of its bi-annual journal.

Featured as an emerging thought leader in World Architecture News in 2013, Bharne was one of nine international practitioners recognized for urban design excellence at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's Urban Edge Award Seminar 2015 cycle. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of two of the region's most respected non-profit organizations - Pasadena Heritage, and Union Station Homeless Services. He also serves as an expert member of several international urbanism think-tanks such as CUSP-India, and Turenscape Academy in China.

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Currently Teaching
  • 555
    Global Perspectives in Heritage Conservation
    Global Perspectives in Heritage Conservation
    The definitions, efforts and efficacies of heritage conservation are inherent to and shaped by the social, political and economic cultures of a place. In many societies outside the Western world, the strategies that underlie the success of heritage conservation efforts are therefore significantly different than those typically pursued in Europe and the United States. Extreme economic disparities, ethnic and religious diversity and ad hoc, illegal possession and appropriation of historic sites surface the need for bottom-up instead of top-down strategies, self-help mechanisms and populist grassroots efforts as methods and tools. Additionally, the multi-generational presence of unconventional habitat types such as squatters, slums, urban villages and refugee camps, also raise complex questions on what constitutes heritage and how and why we need to conserve them. The course will introduce students to the issues and challenges surrounding the idea of heritage conservation beyond the Euro-American world. It will specifically aim at provoking discussions on the nexus of heritage conservation, socio-economic inclusiveness and social justice by focusing on selected case studies that highlight the dilemmas of these other worlds.
  • 558
    Fundamentals of Place-Making
    Fundamentals of Place-Making
    * Registration is restricted to Master of Heritage Conservation students or those without previous Architectural Design background* This course is aimed to expose graduate students in the Heritage Conservation discipline to the foundational ideas and basic skills of urban design and place-making. Specifically this course will overview some of the most dominant theories of urban design as well as their immersive relationship with various graphic means of representing a designed landscape and/or place. Using the USC campus as study area, this course will teach students to read the built environment as a physical setting of identifiable elements each having specific dimensions and characteristics, and their combination into complex larger wholes. Finally, this course will engage students in design exercises involving strategic thinking on what to preserve, what to change and what to introduce new and why. The specific goals of this course are as follows: Create awareness on various contemporary positions and lenses for reading the built environment. Develop a basic understanding of the physical components of the urban landscape and their dimensional characteristics – from the scale of the region to that of a street. Develop a basic understanding of how to represent in two and three-dimensions, the basic physical components of an urban landscape – from trees to building typologies – and how to depict them. Engage in basic place-making exercises that analyze conditions towards proposing transformation and change.
  • 562
    Architecture Themes and Case Studies Constructing the Modern City
    Architecture Themes and Case Studies Constructing the Modern City
    Arch 562 will concentrate on architecture as it relates to urban form, urban space, and urban landscape. Students will investigate the relationship of buildings to our built environment, whether cities, suburbs, or constructed landscapes. The focus will primarily be on the modern city and the varying roles architecture has played in confronting, shaping, or even celebrating the effects of industrialization, post-­‐industrialization, and globalization.
  • 566
    Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Bharne)
    Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Bharne)

    The physical and ecological construct of urban landscapes across the world consists of a finite and identifiable series of elements – streets, buildings, rivers, infrastructure etc. However, the specific form, intent, intervention with, sustenance of, and inherent attitudes towards these elements, is shaped by several deeper phenomenological forces and circumstances that create distinct identities and signatures of people, place and culture. Different histories, growth patterns, governance structures, cultural beliefs and aspirations all ultimately create different expectations of what the urban landscape is and can be. This recognition has serious implications to the practice of landscape architecture and urbanism. How do we gauge the appropriateness of our interventions in a specific culture? How do we negotiate between our personal biases on what a place ought to be, versus reading it for what it is? How do we understand the practice of landscape design beyond passive physical amelioration, as a reflective engagement with cultural expectations, towards deeper change?

    The course examines of the contemporary urban landscape as an enmeshed duality of parallel culture-specific “urbanities” and “urbanisms”. “Urbanities” refers to the myriad phenomenological traits and processes of urban life and cultural experience – from polarizations of poverty and wealth, to the rapid urbanization of cities. “Urbanisms” in turn refers to the diverse physical products and characteristics of the urban landscape – from the psychedelic streetscapes of Tokyo, to the slums of Dacca. Moving across urban history in time and space, this course offers comparative perspectives on attitudes to the city and nature across various places and cultures. Where do they overlap? Where do they separate? How do their cross-influence one another?

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