Areas of Interest
Architecture and Urbanism, Media and Material Culture, Political Economy, Postcolonial Studies/South Asia

Ph.D. in Architecture
Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning


/ PhD Student

Amit Ittyerah

Amit’s research engages the academic fields of 20th and 21st century architecture and urbanization in international and postcolonial geographies such as South Asia. His current research examines architectural assemblies and typologies of the rapidly urbanizing countryside emerging along infrastructural corridors beyond metropolitan space in post-economic liberalization India.

In this context Amit’s dissertation shows how extravagant commercial wedding venues that have emerged along highways around Delhi and its surrounding smaller cities, towns, and villages are indexes of a decentralizing form of urbanization and economic growth entangling metropole and countryside. Tracing these sites’ assemblies reveals that they are semipermanent structures imitating a montage of indigenous and internationally circulating images of iconic architecture and other destinations like European Palaces, famous international cities, and Bollywood mise en scène. These venues are made of a variety of regionally sourced flexible materials like cloth, steel, bamboo, and fiberglass using guilds of migrant labor organized by tent vendors on rentable empty land, farm houses, or in more formal hotels and convention centers. These temporary sites respond to the surge in rituals and related consumerist practices in the city during the majority Hindu communities wedding season in North India. This analysis also reveals that these sites emerged from a tradition of tenting and “pandals,” i.e., temporary ritual structures that were used to conduct wedding rites located between the bride and groom’s rural family homes.

The project explores how the highway wedding venue emerged as a potent post liberalization urban form across various scales of urbanization in India. It shows how the wedding and its migrant labors’ rural caste-based kinships networks operate across regions. It further demonstrates that these regional networks are ubiquitous across various scales of human settlements and influence their urbanization. It argues that the secular city, the State, and its colonial history also played roles in the production of this industrial ritual typology through the marginalization of the subject and its indigenous practices and spaces—especially those associated to the countryside. Amit shows how the wedding venues’ highly flexible, scalable, and mobile forms result from negotiations between secular metropole and private indigenous spaces. Furthermore, as the post liberalization State withdraws from conventional urban planning, it deploys new privatization-friendly governance models and highways that ironically tap into marginalized indigenous networks of private production and consumption. In sum, the dissertation relates the powerful hybridity of the urban and architectural form of wedding venues dispersed across city and country to negotiations among ritual and caste-based practices and private consumption, regional labor guilds, and metropolitan networks of design, and management.

Amit is also a registered Architect in India, having practiced with notable firms for over 6 years in various Indian cities and in the city of Seattle in the United States. He teaches surveys and seminars in architecture and urban studies and their history and theory. He is an avid reviewer at Undergraduate, Graduate and Thesis Design Studios. He received his B.Arch from M.S. University Baroda, India, and M.Arch and M.S. in the History and Theory of Architecture from the University of Washington. Amit has participated in award winning design competition at national (India), international, professional and academic venues. He has also been an invited participant in international urban design charettes and  academic research groups engaging architecture and urbanization. He continues to dabble with partners on projects and competitions developing his keen interests in developing design as a methodological interface between critical urban, architectural and postcolonial practices.

Selected Public Presentations

  • Deruralization between Delhi and Chandigarh: Association for Asian Studies Conference, Seattle. April 6, 2016
  • Commodity Architecture, the City, and Beyond: Emerging Urban Morphologies between Delhi & Chandigarh along National Highway1: Center for South Asia Studies, University of Michigan. January 27, 2018
  • Parallel highways, the virtual and real: Algorithmic montage in the Post Periphery: The Department of Architecture at UC Berkeley graduate student conference: After Effects: Architectural Histories of the Present, November 9th-11th 2018.
  • Enclave urbanization along post liberalization highway landscapes of the “Global South”: History Theory Long Table Discussion, University of Washington, May 14, 2019.
  • Liberalization’s Urbanism at the “Periphery”: The case of the Indian Wedding industry and COVID times: Urban Planning and Policy Ph.D. Colloquium Virginia Tech, Oct 13, 2020


  • Rackham International Research Award (U of M), 2021
  • C.K. Prahalad Award, Ross School of Business (U of M), 2020.
  • Rackham International Students Fellowship/ Chia-Lun Lo Fellowship (U of M), 2018
  • Paraskevopoulos Memorial Fellowship (U of M), 2017.
  • Myer R. Wolfe Scholarship in Urban Design (University of Washington (UW),2015)
  • Seattle Architectural Foundation Fellowship (UW,2014)
  • M. Arch Thesis Prize (UW,2011)
  • Department of Architecture Faculty Medal (UW, 2010)
  • Rupal K Engineering Gold Medal for Final Year Undergraduate Design Thesis (M.S University Baroda, 2005)