Center Head and Principal Researcher
Jigna Desai brings to the institute her experience in working with traditional urban environments and framing how traditional architecture may be understood, studied and transformed. Her current work focuses on formulating frameworks, tools and methods through which theoretical ideas of sustainability and conservation of living historic environments can be translated into practice while addressing the challenges of co-production of space and commodification of heritage.
Jigna has worked on preparing the nomination dossier that led to the inscription of Ahmedabad as a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 2017 and has extensive experience in architecture and conservation research. She advocates community-based conservation and has partnered with several national and international institutions on heritage preservation initiatives in different parts of India. Jigna is an expert member of the International Scientific Committee for Historic Towns and Villages, International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and an active ICOMOS India chapter member. She is also a director of an award-winning practice - JMA Design Co that she co-founded with Mehul Bhatt in 1999.
Jigna has studied architecture and has a master’s degree in sustainable architecture from Cardiff University and a PhD in Conservation Studies from CEPT University.