- Research Interests/Specializations
Material and Labor histories, Politics of architectural and urban form, urban infrastructure in the Global South, developmental rhetoric, urban nature, postcolonial theory, subaltern studies.
- B.Arch, National Institute of Technology Calicut, India
- Master of Architecture + Master of Urban Planning, Texas A&M University
- Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Urbanism, Texas A&M University
I am an architect and urbanist from Trivandrum, Kerala broadly interested in understanding the politics of architectural and urban form through labor and material histories of the city. Historiography of Indian Modern architecture, Developmental Politics, Urban Infrastructure, postcolonial theory, subaltern studies, and architectural theory are other interests and dimensions of my work.
Before joining UC Berkeley, I taught architecture and urban design in Delhi, Bangalore and Trivandrum at various institutions including SPA Delhi, Sushant School and R.V. College. I was primarily involved with senior year architectural and urban design studios as well as the modern architectural history and theory track in the B.Arch program. In graduate urban design programs at School of Planning at Delhi, I co-taught a year long research seminar sequence called Reading the City that attempted to investigate live-work-play relationships in different neighborhoods in Delhi primarily through critical cartography.
I have worked as a professional architect and urban designer primarily in Trivandrum and Delhi and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. This includes my work as design partner in Collaborative Urbanism, an urban design firm, I co-founded.
- Selected Publications
Thomas Oommen, “Rethinking Indian Modernity From the Margins: Architectural Politics in Thiruvananthapuram in the 1970s,” Architectural Theory Review, March 19, 2019, 1–24, https://doi.org/10.1080/13264826.2018.1516684
Oommen, Thomas. Modern Urban Heritage and public engagement: The case of Thiruvananthapuram in The Future of Historic Cities: Urban Heritage in South Asia, Special edition: Context: Built, Living and Natural, Volume XII, 2016. Aryan International Books, Delhi.
Oommen, Thomas and Pal, Shreyasi. The Politics of Architecture, Economics and Political Weekly, Vol - L No. 14, April 04, 2015. Mumbai, India.
Oommen, Thomas and Singh, Radhika. From the ground up: Re-Appropriating Urban Infrastructure in Delhi in Critical Planning, 20th anniversary edition, December 2013. University of California at Los Angeles. Los Angeles https://criticalplanning.squarespace.com/volume-20-1