Sonit Bafna graduated with a professional degree in architecture from CEPT, Ahmedabad, and finished post-graduate studies at MIT and Georgia Tech. He teaches courses on interpretation, contemporary theory, conceptual design, diagramming, and spatial analysis; and advises doctoral and masters students in history and theory, organizational and cultural performance fields. His research is focused on analytical studies of architecture, dealing mainly with spatial and visual organization of buildings, theory of architecture, and aesthetics. He has published papers in the Journal of Architecture, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Environment and Planning B, and Environment and Behavior and the Journal of Space Syntax. He serves on the editorial board of two of these journals (EPB and JoSS). His applied research has been supported by the General Services Administration of the U.S. Government, Kaiser Permanente, Ascension Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
An emerging area of research, international and multi-disciplinary, is developing a systematic general account of how the built environment functions—how buildings and settlements organize life and society spatially, how they create meaning, and how they are understood and formed—with a view to developing principles that can inform design but not reduce to it an exercise in satisficing or optimizing. Much of my research contributes to this work; a current aim is to expand this inquiry to explain visual form in architecture and the way in which aesthetics and other cognitive constraints shape our built environment. Some of this work can have direct implications for design and related professions, and has been supported by the General Services administration of the U.S. Government, Kaiser Permanente, Ascension Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Recent papers in Books:
Bafna, S. 2011. “The Modalities of Attention in Marcel Breuer’s Public Library,” in Everyday Aesthetics: The Role of Body in Design, edited by Ritu Bhatt. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (forthcoming).
Peponis, J., Bafna, S., Dahabreh, S., and Dogan, F. 2006. “Presentational Symbolic Systems in Architectural Thinking” in Representation as a Vehicle For Architectural Thinking, edited by Trova, V., Manolides, C., and Papaconstaniou, G. Athens: Futura Editions, 40-53. (In Greek).
Bafna, S. “The Architecture of Buddhism.” In Architecture of the Non-Western World, edited by R. Lewcock. New York & London: W. W. Norton and Co. (In Press)
Recent papers in Journals:
Bafna, S., C. Antunez, M. S. Hyun, H. K. Lee, and L. Yi. 2010. “The Visual Functioning of Buildings: Outline of a possible theory.” Journal of Space Syntax 1(1): 133-148.
Choudhary R., S. Bafna, Y. Heo, A. Hendrich, and M. Chow. 2009. “A Predictive Model for Computing the Influence of Space Layouts on Nurses Movement in Hospital Units.” Journal of Building Performance and Simulation 3 (3): 171-184.
Hendrich, A, M. P. Chow, S Bafna, R Choudhary, Y. Heo and B. A. Skierczynski. 2009. “Unit-related Factors that Affect Nursing Time with Patients: Spatial Analysis of the Time and Motion Study.” Health Environment Research and Design Journal 2 (2): 5-20.
Bafna, S. 2008. “How architectural drawings work: and what that implies for the role of representation in architecture.” The Journal of Architecture 13 (5): 535-564.
Peponis, J, Bafna, S, and Zhang, Z. 2008. “Connectivity of Streets: Reach and Directional Distance.” Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 35: 881-901.
Peponis J, Bafna S, Bajaj R, Bromberg J, Congdon C, Rashid M, Warmels S, Zhang Y, Zimring C. (2007) “Designing space to support knowledge work” Environment and Behavior 39 (6) 815-840
Recent Papers in Conference Proceedings:
Bafna, S., Hyun, M., Lee, H., Antunez, C., and Yi, L. 2009. “The Analysis of Visual Functioning of Buildings,” In Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Space Syntax, edited by Koch, D., Marcus, L, and Steen, J. Stockholm: TRITA-ARK Forskningspublikation 2009:1, 7.1-7.12.
Vialard, A., and Bafna, S. 2009. “The Structure of Change in Mid-Twentieth Century American House.” In Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Space Syntax, edited by Koch, D., Marcus, L, and Steen, J. Stockholm: TRITA-ARK Forskningspublikation 2009:1, 130.1-130.13.
Heo, Y., Choudhary, R., Bafna, S., Hendrich, A. and Chow, M. 2009. “A Modeling Approach for Estimating the Impact of Spatial Configuration on Nurses’ Movement.” In Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Space Syntax, edited by Koch, D., Marcus, L, and Steen, J. Stockholm: TRITA-ARK Forskningspublikation 2009:1, 41.1-41.11.
Ozbil, A., Peponis, J. and Bafna, S. 2009. “The Effects of Street Configuration on Transit Ridership.” In Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Space Syntax, edited by Koch, D., Marcus, L, and Steen, J. Stockholm: TRITA-ARK Forskningspublikation 2009:1, 84.1-84.8.
Bafna, S., and Shah, S. 2007. “The Evolution of Orthogonality in Built Space: an argument from space syntax.” In Proceedings of the 6h International Symposium on Space Syntax. Istanbul: ITU, 54.1-54.14
Bafna, S., and Hamash, R. 2007. “Designing the spatial syntax of office layouts.” In Proceedings of the 6h International Symposium on Space Syntax. Istanbul: ITU, 67.1-67.22.
Recent courses include:
COA 8904: Formulation of architectural intent
Arch 4803/8803 Diagrams: Tools for conceptual analysis of architecture
COA 8625: Theories of Inquiry
COA 8863: Analytical Inquiry into Urban Space (co-taught with Dr. John Peponis)
COA 8860: Architecture, Space, and Culture (co-taught with Dr. John Peponis)
Arch 6132/4822: Architectural Theory and Criticism (Contemporary Theory; co-taught with Prof. Ellen Dunham Jones)