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Anthony Acciavatti

Anthony Acciavatti is a historian of science and technology, a cartographer, and an architect. The recipient of a Mellon Fellowship from Princeton University in 2017, he is currently working on the connections between the sciences and design in Asia and the Americas.

Acciavatti studied architecture, first at the Rhode Island School of Design, and then at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he was awarded the Frederick Sheldon Fellowship. He holds a PhD in history and history of science from Princeton University and was the Sherley W. Morgan, Class of 1913 Fellow.

In 2015 Acciavatti published Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River, the first comprehensive mapping and history of India’s Ganges River basin in half a century. He spent a decade hiking, driving, and boating across the Ganges in order to map it and to understand the historical conflicts over water for drinking, agriculture, and industry. Combining fieldwork with archival research, the book is an atlas of the enterprise to transform the Ganges into the most hyper-engineered landscape in the world. Begun at a moment in time when satellite imagery of this region was difficult to come by, he designed and built his own instruments to map soils and devised guerilla tactics to visualize the choreography of temporary cities and the periodicity of the monsoons. (See Acciavatti talking about the making of the book on the MacMillan Report, and listen to Acciavatti discuss the book on The Leonard Lopate Show.)

In 2016 Ganges Water Machine was awarded the 2016 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize. Along with the book, Ganges Water Machine is an internationally traveling exhibition with recent shows in New York, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

Recent publications include chapters on the work of Charles and Ray Eames in India, the history of infrastructure and urban growth in Asia, temporary cities and agriculture in India, and the formation of new scientific disciplines like psychorheology.

His research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation along with the Graham Foundation and Yale University where he was a Fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies, and his work on the Ganges by a J. William Fulbright Fellowship as well as grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation and Harvard University.

Acciavatti has written for The New York Times, Cabinet, Indian Express, Architectural Design, and Topos among other places. He is a founding editor of Manifest: A Journal of American Architecture and Urbanism.

He has worked as an architect in Europe, South Asia, and North America and is a principal of Somatic Collaborative in New York.

Along with teaching at Columbia University, he has taught at Princeton University and the Rhode Island School of Design.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A6815‑1 Spring 2019
Out of Date: Expired Patents and Their Unrealized Histories
Anthony Acciavatti Syllabus
F 11 AM -1 PM
3 Points
A4685‑1 Summer 2018
Urban Theory + Design in Post Industrial Age
Noah Chasin, Anthony Acciavatti Required for UD
114 Avery
TU 10 AM - 2 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A4685‑1 Summer 2017
Urban Theory & Design In the Post-Industrial Age
Noah Chasin, Anthony Acciavatti Syllabus UD Required
114 Avery Hall
Tu 10 AM - 12PM
Full Semester
3 Points