Katherine Chia and Arjun Desai are the founding principals of Desai Chia Architecture. Since 1996, they have established the firm’s reputation for authentic design, creating inspiring environments expressive of their use and materials; Desai Chia’s portfolio includes cultural, residential, and commercial projects as well as commissions for product design and collaborations with artists. Projects are currently in development throughout the United States and India.

Desai Chia’s projects have been published extensively and received many accolades including numerous American Architecture Awards, American Institute of Architects Design Awards, Interior Design Best of Year Awards, the IDEA Award, and several Good Design Awards. The firm’s work has been exhibited at the Center for Architecture, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Istanbul Bienniale, Salone del Mobile Milan, the Herman Miller showrooms in New York and LA, and Parsons The New School of Design.

Katherine Chia FAIA earned her Master of Architecture degree from M.I.T. and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College. Prior to founding Desai Chia Architecture, she worked for Maya Lin on numerous art and architecture commissions. Chia is a registered architect in the state of New York & Connecticut. She has also been a faculty member in the architecture department at Parsons The New School of Design. She is Co-Chair of the Van Alen Institute’s Program Leadership Council, an elected member of the AIA NY Finance Committee, and Trustee Emerita of Amherst College.

Arjun Desai AIA grew up in New Delhi and Mumbai, India.  Prior to founding Desai Chia Architecture, he worked at SHCA/NY on numerous civic projects in New York and Washington, D.C. He earned his Master of Architecture degree from M.I.T. and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennington College.  Desai is a registered architect in the state of New York and an active member of the AIA NY.


Our architecture celebrates conceptually bold design, deliberate eloquence, and graceful simplicity in order to better our collective experiences of space and place-making. We solve rigorous design problems for institutions, organizations and private clients, driven by our guiding principle that architecture can transform communities. The studio is known for two things: our preference for social and humane architecture, and iconic projects that benefit from our sustainable technical strategies and extensive knowledge of materials.

Rooted in our multidisciplinary background, we seek to blur the boundaries between building and nature through our hallmark approach of integrating light as a unifying theme. Each design opportunity is informed by previous projects and expertise, which allows us the latitude to conduct new research, challenge traditional expectations, and ask bigger questions in order to build inspired and spirited architecture. We nimbly navigate each step of the building’s design and execution: from the conceptual framework uniquely inspired by each client, to thoughtful, agile and tenacious project management, through to the final construction. The results are distinct, evocative, sustainable and enduring buildings, customized for a range of collaborative experiences that address each client’s particular needs.



AIA Michigan Honor Award
AIA New York State Design Award of Excellence
AIA Long Island Archi Award Commendation
Society of American Registered Architects Award of Excellence
Society of American Registered Architects Award of Honor (2)
American Architecture Award
AAP Firm of the Year Award in Multi-disciplinary Architecture
AZ Design Award
SARA National Design Award (3)
East End Design Award

AIA New York State Design Award
AIA New York Residential Review Design Award
American Architecture Prize-Gold
American Architecture Prize-Silver
American Architecture Prize-Bronze
SARA NY Design Honor Award
SARA National Design Award of Merit (3)
Wood Design & Building: Wood Design Award

American Architecture Award
AIA New York Honor Design Award
Interior Design Best of Year Award
Interior Design Best of Year Award Honoree
Boston Society of Architects Housing Design Award
MakeItWork Award (3)
SARA NY Silver Honor Award

AIA Boston Society of Architects Housing Award
CODA Design Award

American Architecture Award
Interior Design Best of Year Award
AIA New York Design Award
World Architecture Festival Finalist Award
SARA NY Gold Award of Excellence for Architecture & Sustainability
Architizer Special Mention Design Award

American Architecture Award
A+ Architizer Special Mention Award
SARA NY Honor Award for Product Design
SARA NY Honor Award for Architecture
WAN Design Product Design Award, finalist
WAN Interiors Award- long list selection

Good Design Award

Good Design Award
IDEA Award
D&AD Award Finalist
ICFF Editors’ Award with AFNY  

Architectural Record Product Award

Residential Architect Design Award
Subzero/Wolf Design Award

AIA New York State Design Award
Interior Design Best of Year Award
Residential Architect Design Award

AIA New York State Design Award
Residential Architect Design Award

American Architecture Award
Subzero/Wolf Design Award

AIA New York Design Award

New York Magazine ‘Best of NY’ Award
House Beautiful “100 Top American Designers” List


AIA Michigan Honor Awards Exhibition, DCDT Gallery Space, Detroit, MI
The European Centre’s Contemporary Space, Athens, Greece
AIA Residential Review, New York, NY

AIA New York State Design Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY
The European Centre’s Contemporary Space, Athens, Greece
AIA  Residential Review, GD Cucine, New York, NY

AIA NY Design Awards Exhibition, Center for Architecture, NYC
The City and the World Exhibition, Chicago Architecture Biennial

The City and the World Exhibition, Istanbul Design Biennal 

American Architecture Awards, Buenos Aires Biennial
NYRP Edge/ucation Exhibition, Center for Architecture, NYC
Surface Innovation, Center for Architecture, NYC

Surface Series by Desai Chia Architecture,
Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy

Surface Series by Desai Chia Architecture,
International Contemporary Furniture Fair, NYC

Recess Series by Desai Chia Architecture,
International Contemporary Furniture Fair, NYC

AIA New York State Design Conference, Huntington, NY

Desai/Chia: Work/Process, Parsons The New School for Design
New American Architecture, Herman Miller Gallery, LA 

New American Architecture, Herman Miller Gallery, New York
New York NOW Exhibition, Center for Architecture, NYC

AIA NY Design Awards Exhibition, Center for Architecture, NYC



Desai Chia Architecture’s projects have been featured on television and in numerous architecture and design publications in the United States, Europe, and Asia including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Architectural Record, Casabella, Dwell Asia, Surface Asia, Interior Design, Architectural Digest, New York Magazine, Residential Architect, Elle Décor, Elle Japan, and the New York Observer.

ARCHITECT, 'Michigan Lake House"
Dwell, "Protect & Preserve," by Sarah Cox
THE PLAN, “At One with Nature.” Pagliari, Francesco. Cover story
Interior Design. “6 Design-Minded Offices in the USA and China," by Athena Waligore
The End Magazine, Design Awards Issue

The New York Times, “An Architect’s Ties to Her Mixing Bowls: Metal Rings,” by Ligaya Mishan
Interior Design. “Michigan Lake House by Desai Chia Architecture: 2016 Best of year for Country House,” by Craig Kellogg
Best of Office Architecture & Design, vol II, Sandow Media, by Cindy Allen

Interior Design, “Serving Up Major Minimalism” by Craig Kellogg

Casabella, Desai Chia Architecture: LM Guest House
Building Better: Sustainable Architecture for Family Homes, Gestalten edited by Sven Ehmann, Cover Story
Best of Education and Culture Architecture & Design, Sandow Media by Cindy Allen

The Wall Street Journal, “The Greening of a Midcentury Classic” by Susannah Sirefman
Architectural Digest, “Inner Space: A loft Expansion in Manhattan” by Brad Goldfarb
Interior Design, “The Simple Life,” by Craig Kellogg
Dwell Asia, “LM Guest House”
Best of Residential Architecture & Design, Sandow Media by Cindy Allen

Surface Asia, “Desai Chia Architecture” 

Refreshing Offices, Phoenix Publishing

The Architect’s Newspaper, “Come Clean”
Residential Architect, “Home Front” by Meghan Drueding
WOW Converted Spaces, “Madison Square,” Loft Publications by Julio Fajardo, Cover Story

Residential Architect, “Guiding Light,” by Meghan Dreuding, Cover Story
Atlas for Living, Loft Publications
Houses / Maisons / Hauser, Pulbisher H.F. Ullmann

Food & Wine,  “The Experimental Kitchen” by Christine Quinlan

Indian Design and Interiors, “Close Up: Desai Chia Architecture”
The Architect’s Newspaper, “Everything is Illuminated” by Andrew Yang
Residential Architect, “Bathed in Light” by Shelley Hutchins
The New York Times, “Let in the Light” by Fred Bernstein
2000 Architects, Images Publishing
Lofts & Apartments in NYC 2, Edizioni L’Archivolto by Matteo Vercelloni, Cover Story
Plastic Design, Te Neues Publishing Co. by Christian Campos
Ultimate New York Design, Te Neues Publishing Co. by Anja Lllorella Oriol
Interior Design, “Symphony in Ash” by Sheila Kim-Jamet

Architectural Record, “A Kitchen Light Box and Bathroom Lanterns Serve as
"Beacons in a New York City Loft” by Rita Catinella
Houses, H. Kliczkowski, Multilingual Edition, by Alejandro Bahamon
Small Houses, Taschen
Small Apartments, Taschen
Lofts, Loft Publications

The Smart Loft, Harper Design International by James Grayson Trulove
Lofts, Loft Publications by Ana Christina G Canizares
Mini House, Harper Design International by Alejandro Bahamon
Interior Design, “Clean Sweep” by Sheila Kim

The New York Observer, “Hitting the Right Note”
Interior Design, “Peace Core,”  by Sheila Kim

The New York Times Magazine,  “Design Inspirations” 

Elle Japan, “Elle Special”
Interior Design, “Nolita Natural” by Jen Renzi
The New York Times, “Like Music to the Eyes” by William Hamilton
Time Out New York, “Spa Check: The Next Generation” 

Elle Décor, Italy,  “Lusso & Semplicita” by Laura Maggi

Elle Décor, “Banker’s Trust” by Joseph Giovannini
New York Magazine, “Best of New York: Loft Conversion”


Illinois School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL. “Desai Chia: Constructions,” lecture
AIA Michigan Design Retreat, “The Michigan Lake House: Building Community and Collaboration,” lecture
Perspective USA Design Conference, New York, NY. “Intersections of Collaboration,” lecture
Boston Architectural College, “Constructions,” lecture

"Surface Innovation" Panel Discussion, Center for Architecture
MOCATalks Panel, "Fashion Architecture Food", MOCA New York
OpenHouseNewYork "What's New What's Next" Panel with Cindy Allen

Good Design Awards Jury

Van Alen Institute, Metropolis/AFNY Design Panel
Western Red Cedar Architectural Design Awards Jury

Desai/Chia: Work/Process, Lecture, Bennington College
Desai/Chia: Work/Process, Lecture and Exhibition, Parsons The New School of Design


Ali Tayar, Parallel Design Partnership
Apex Engineering & Management, Inc.
Arthur H. Howland & Associates, P.C.
Arturo Padilla, Architect
Atila Rona Structural Engineer
Attila Uysal Lighting Design
AYS Engineering Group Inc.
Barylski Surveying
Bayshore Engineers
Berkeley Structural Engineers
Blanco Architecture
Callahan Consulting
Christine Sciulli Light + Design
Colorado Geoscience
Cooley Monato Studio
Crawford Associates
David Kufferman Structural Engineers
Darling Botanicals
Environment Architects
Friedman & Oppenheimer Engineers
Gregory Clawson, Architect
Hajek Land Planning
James Gainfort Consulting Architect
John Lei Photography
Joshua McHugh Photography
Jozwiak Civil Engineering
Mark Craemer Photography
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Miller Pacific Engineering Group
Murray Engineering
New York Building Technology Group
NYL Structural Engineers
Oberkamper & Associates Civil Engineers
Old Structures
Paggi Martin DelBene Civil Engineers
Paul Warchol Photography
Peter Walker Partners
PK30 Systems
Rodkin Cardinale Consulting Engineers
Saskas Surveying Company
Summerhill Landscapes
Surface Design Inc.
Thomas Thompson Lighting Design
Tucker Associates
William Vitacco Associates
Steven Winter Associates