Sony Devabhaktuni joined the architecture faculty in January 2016. Before arriving in Hong Kong, he taught and practiced in Switzerland and France. He is both a writer and an architect and is currently working on an essay with Dr. Min Lee on how the economic crises that began in 2008 led to new modes of architectural practice that foreground collaboration, participation and political engagement. His article “merceinspace”, written for the AA Files, led to research funded by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts that looked at how Merce Cunningham used notation to develop his choreography. Sony hopes to continue looking at dance as a spatial practice potentially in dialogue with architecture as he gets to better know the Hong Kong dance community.
With Raffael Baur and Patricia Guaita from the EPF Lausanne (Switzerland), he founded and directs Building Cultures Summer Chantier — a 1:1 fabrication workshop with Dr. David Jolly Monge at the Valparaiso School of Architecture and Design (Chile). Beginning in the summer of 2014, and continuing each summer since then, the workshop has pursued the design and fabrication of a research center for the school’s Open City, an experimental community of architects and designers located on the Pacific coast. In parallel, with Patricia Guaita and Dr. Cornelia Tapparelli, he is co-editor of Building Cultures Valparaiso (Routledge/EPFL Press), a collection of essays and archival drawings that looks at the relationship between teaching, practice and poetry at the Open City.
In January of 2015, Sony began construction on a private house in southern India. Working in cooperation with a local architect and craftsmen, the house is the catalyst for a larger research project looking at contemporary pressures on landed, private houses and their typologies in medium sized Indian cities. The research will investigate the influence of, among other issues, densification, changes in family structure, and local building cultures on contemporary Indian responses to landed houses.
Sony studied English literature at Stanford University and architecture at the Cooper Union where he received the AIA Gold Prize Medal and a Fulbright Fellowship to France. In Paris he completed a Master in Indian Studies at Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle.