Oorvi Sharma

Master in Architecture II, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge MA, USA

Bachelor of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India


Oorvi Sharma is an architect, academic, and writer. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She divides her time between working in the United Arab Emirates, with design and construction projects that she oversees and manages in the Indian Himalayan region, and the Western Canadian region.

Oorvi is an alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she received her M.Arch II and studied as an Irving fellow. Oorvi received her B.Arch from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and has also studied architecture at the Architectural Association and at the Parsons School of Design.

She leads an eponymously named studio in which she designs and executes projects - built, creative, and conceptual - through intensive exploration of and response to material cultures, climate change, global shifts, and modern conservation movements. Her projects span architecture, urban design, editorial contributions, and publications, as well as the curation of exhibitions focused on built environments and their inherent ecologies.

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi has profiled Oorvi’s practice: a video showcasing her work was released on official channels in August 2023. Oorvi’s work has also been recognized by the Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi, where she was awarded a residency in 2022-23.

She is also the founder of the research practice Project Norsou which foregrounds her relationships with the individuals, communities, and environments of her design interventions and transdisciplinary collaborations. In her research practice, Oorvi draws insight from trans-scalar and trans-historical modes of inquiry and investigates issues at the confluence of artefacts, architecture, and urban design across diverse global contexts.

Oorvi serves in key roles in ongoing projects representing aspects of interregional design dialogues in the WANASA geography, approaches to the conservation of built heritage, and architecture from the Islamic world over centuries. Oorvi has lectured at global institutions about her demonstrated work relating to issues of sustainability and ecological design, and her contributions to the built environment in strategic communities. She was invited to lecture at TU Delft (2023) and will be lecturing at the University of Trieste (2024), among others.

She has been widely published in magazines and journals including Disegno Journal (2021), Harvard GSD’s Platform (2018), ICON (2023), SVSA (2023), The Markaz Review (2023), and Temes De Disseny (2023). Her work has been translated and distributed in Spanish, Catalan, Hindi, and Arabic. Her films have been screened at the School of Planning and Architecture (2014), the Harvard Graduate School of Design (2016), and the Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi (2023).

Her analytical and creative approach has produced pivotal projects and key scholarship contributions including: (1) her role in the preparation of the “Inclusive Design Standards” publication with the Kelsey, a non-profit organisation in San Francisco which addresses the staggering vacuum at the intersection of accessibility-forward design and affordable housing in the United States, (2) her work at the confluence of policy and legislation in Ladakh and the greater Himalayan geography, (3) her inquiries into issues of environmental justice and public health within an international scope - including land ownership of Kampung village structures in Southeast Asia and oil extraction infrastructures in Los Angeles, (4) her investigation of the entanglement between the hard materiality of infrastructure and the socio-political claims expressed in recent mobilizations in India, and (5) her work regarding community and resource upliftment in vulnerable ecological systems, among others.

Oorvi has previously practiced at award-winning firms in Tokyo, San Francisco, Boston, and Mumbai where she held roles that span a range of project phases and worked closely with design teams to address the needs of stakeholders. In recent years, Oorvi has led efforts to establish strategic design and program collaborations for an educational institution in the greater Himalayan region. Her published research and outreach about the project embodies the operational paradigm of actionable idealism while leveraging public awareness to drive change.


Abu Dhabi - Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi


+971 2 599 3372

Teaching Areas

(1) Intensive Studies in Constructed Environments;

(2) Electives relating to Design Research, Modulating Disciplinary Change, and Emerging Environmental Challenges;

(3) Climate By Design: Paradigmatic Design Responses to the Climate Crisis;

(4) Courses in the History and Theory of Architecture, Infrastructure, and Technology from the Sixteenth Century to the Present;

(5) The Nexus Between Arts, Architecture, and Archeology in the Global South;

(6) Mapping: Diverse Agents, Material Dimensions, and Relational Effects.

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