Meet Manoj Dalaya, FAIA

While logic and planning serve as the foundation for collaboration in the design process, artistic intention is essential in Manoj Dalaya’s approach to design. His high-performance, fortified spaces embrace art, environment, and community — all while integrating the security, infrastructure, and technological requirements of secure campuses. A principal at KGD Architecture, Dalaya serves on the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter Executive Committee and chairs their Design Awards Committee. He lends his architectural and real estate expertise to several Washington, D.C. area urban development committees and to architecture and real estate students at local universities. He was honored with AIA Virginia’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2018.

Where did you go to college?
I received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Sir J.J. College of Architecture, Bombay, India. I also attended the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC) Consortium while obtaining a Master of Architecture degree from Miami University of Ohio.

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person?
Architecture presents a unique opportunity for young people to make a profound and positive impact on society through creating the built environment, and I like to inspire young people to be part of this dynamic field.

What does it take to be an architect?
The architect engages all stakeholders and interprets their needs and aspirations to create a successful built environment. While logic and planning can serve as the foundation for the collaboration, artistic and creative intent is necessary to create successful projects that will inspire and serve society.

Was there an architect who particularly inspired you?
When I was in high school, someone gave me a book called Individual Creations that featured some outstanding architects. The building that really inspired me was Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)
in Helsinki, designed by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, who won a design competition. I recognized that there existed a profession in which one could blend science and art.

What are you currently reading?
I enjoy reading the Swedish crime fiction writer Henning Mankell, the author of the Wallander series. His final novel, Quicksand, published in English four months after his death, is turning out to be a beautiful book with its perspective on humanity’s existence during great chunks of time between ice ages.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
One of the best meals was at Dionysos Zonar’s, Pnyx Hill in Athens. The meal was simple: cheese, wine, olives, and fresh bread. The view overlooking the city’s hills and the Acropolis was magnificent.

Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
We have unprecedented challenges that we face with climate change and deteriorating infrastructure. Understanding and influencing the architect’s role in designing a better future for our communities are best done by engagement with the AIA. If we wish to be architects of a better society and a promising future, our collective voice is more likely to be clear, sharp, and better heard by policymakers.

Dalaya Recognized at Visions 2018

Manoj Dalaya honored with the Award for Distinguished Achievement at Visions for Architecture on Nov. 9, 2018.

Dalaya Honored for Distinguished Achievement

Manoj Dalaya, AIA, will be recognized with the Award for Distinguished Achievement at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Award for Distinguished Achievement signals distinguished achievement by an architect in any one of the following categories: design, practice, education, service as “citizen architect” and service to the profession; and thus may serve as an accolade for the work of an entire career or recognize the current accomplishments of a younger leader.

Whether personal or national, experts have honed their skills in the rapidly-changing field of security design dramatically over the past twenty years. During this period of great change, Manoj Dalaya, AIA has been relentlessly delivering successful solutions to complex building security issues within a cloak of exceptional award-winning architectural design.

At KGD, Manoj has been a consistent advocate for what we now call “healthy building,” but might more appropriately be simply called “good design.” From commercial office buildings to a town hall, Manoj’s design ethic positions “building performance” as not merely technologically defined but also fundamentally human. In other words, a well-designed green building must be life enhancing and healthy, not only resource-efficient. That he has achieved these same goals in challenging programs, for secure facilities heavy with technology requirements for example, is remarkable. Manoj’s portfolio, taken as a body of work, stands as evidence that design leadership can bring even the most restrictive programs and clients to a more sustainable, green, healthy result. The profession benefits from such precedents as the deceptively radical 2000 Tower Oaks Blvd. building, a subject for researchers who have studied how Manoj’s combining ancient Vedic principles with high technology resulted in both an uplifting workplace and the DC area’s first LEED Platinum office building.

In addition to efforts within KGD, Manoj has offered his time and skills to AIA Northern Virginia, and multiple districts in the surrounding Washington, DC business communities. This brand of demonstrative leadership provides noticeable public recognition for the architectural profession, and
can make a significant difference within society. Manoj is a collaborator and friend that shows his dedication in everything he undertakes. His service to his firm, community and profession make him an excellent recipient of the AIA Virginia Award for Distinguished Achievement.