Kapila Silva

Kapla Silva head shot
  • Professor

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Marvin Hall, room #311


Kapila D. Silva is a Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture and Design of the University of Kansas, USA. He has previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from where he received his doctorate and at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka from where he received professional architectural education. His research focuses on the social, cultural and psychological aspects of architecture, urbanism, and historic preservation. His research has thus far been on global heritage conservation, addressing theoretical and pragmatic issues related to UNESCO’s World Heritage Program, which attempts to preserve and manage historic monuments and sites with outstanding universal value around the world. The underlined interest in his research has been in the construction and stewardship of meaning in the built environment in the forms of sites, monuments and memorials of personal and communal legacies and in the ways of balancing conservation concerns with development needs within historic urban areas. In geo-cultural scope, his work focuses specifically on non-Western traditions within the Asian context. In addition, he studies vernacular environments in the region, developing a theoretical framework to study those environments and deriving lessons for contemporary architectural situations, such as community design and post-disaster resettlement housing. In addition to these scholarly activities, he continues to be engaged in architectural design, practicing exclusively in Sri Lanka where he is a licensed architect. Dr. Silva is the lead editor of Asian Heritage Management: Contexts, Concerns and Prospects (with Neel Kamal Chapagain; Routledge, 2013), Cultural Landscapes of South Asia: Studies in Heritage Conservation and Management (with Amita Sinha; Routledge, 2017), and The Routledge Handbook on Historic Urban Landscapes in the Asia-Pacific (Routledge, 2020) and co-author of The Tampitaviharas of Sri Lanka: Elevated Image-houses in Buddhist Architecture (Anthem Press, in press). He has received 2006 Building Block Award (Faculty of the Year) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students, 2010 Jack and Nancy Bradley Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence from the School of Architecture and Design, and 2 018 K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award and 2020 The Honor for Outstanding Progressive Educator (HOPE) Award from the University of Kansas. He is also the recipient of 2013 New Researcher Award from the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) and 2018 Achievement Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA).


Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2004, USA
Architectural Conservation of Monuments and Sites, University of Moratuwa, 1995, Sri Lanka
Architecture, University of Moratuwa, 1993, Sri Lanka
Built Environment, University of Moratuwa, 1990, Sri Lanka


Research interests:

  • Social, cultural, and psychological aspects of architectural design and urban design
  • Urban design and development policy in developing countries
  • Urbanism and heritage conservation in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region
  • Visual culture in Buddhist and Asian societies


Studios + Courses Taught (Selected):

ARCH 508 - Architectural Design Studio III/ Materials and Tectonics
ARCH 600 – Theorizing Vernacular Architecture
ARCH 609 – Integrated Design Studio
ARCH 630 - Theory & Context in Architecture
ARCH 647 – Historic Preservation Theory
ARCH 690 - Study Abroad in Asia
ARCH 701 - Research Methods in Architecture
ARCH 999 – Doctoral Dissertation