Jazz Kalirai

"The influence of the environment has affected my vision and way of doing architecture."

Jazz Kalirai

Jaskran Singh Kalirai is a British architect, son of Punjabi parents, who arrived in Ecuador in 2002. As SUMAC’s head of architecture, Jazz guides our architectural philosophy, overseeing all of our sustainable architecture projects and ensuring the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Jazz received his remarkable academic training at Leeds University, England, and the University of Pennsylvania, United States. During his training, he had the opportunity to work in the studios of architects such as Enrique Norten and Daniel Libeskind, with whom he worked on the World Trade Center Memorial project in New York. In New York City, Kalirai also worked as a corporate project designer at the international architecture firm KPF.

His interest in sustainable architecture stems from two important experiences during his postgraduate studies at University of Pennsylvania. The first was to personally meet Ian McHarg, landscape architect and inventor of the milhoja method of territorial analysis (forerunner of Geographic Information Systems), whose book Design with Nature (1969) marked his vision of architecture. The second experience was to participate in a summer program in Japan, where he learned traditional Japanese carpentry and discovered ways of projecting architecture while being respectful of humans and the natural environment.

"Architecture is an art, like fashion design or sculpture. They taught me that way and I love it. I love to experiment and play, architecture has to be fun."


  • Quito Publishing House Building
    LEED GOLD USGBC // 2015
  • EBC Building
    Quito Ornament Honorable Mention Award // December 2008
  • Galapagos // 0 Latitude International Competiton
    XV Quito Architecture Biennale, Quito, Ecuador, November 2006
    2nd Prize in the Architectural Design Category for sustainable housing prototype.
  • Design Excellence Award
    Living Smart Housing Competiton, Oregón, EE. UU., 2004
  • Pan-American Competiton of Built Work
    XIV Quito Biennale, Quito, Ecuador, November 2004
    International mention in the category of urban design for the rehabilitation of a historic square.
  • Takiron International Competiton // Casa dentro de la Naturaleza
    Tokyo, Japan, 2000 // 3rd Prize
  • John Stewardson Memorial Competition
    University Student Design Competition for Philadelphia Historic Archives University Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, 2000
    3er Premio
  • John Stewardson Memorial Competition
    University Student Design Contest for Philadelphia Historic Archives AIA National Convention Philadelphia, EE.UU., 2000
  • Will M. Mehlhorn Scholarship
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, 2000
    Award for his excellent performance in architectural theory.
  • Thouron Scholarship, May 1999
    Masters Degree University Pennsylvania, 1999-2000
  • West Yorkshire Achievement Awards in Architecture, 1998
    Award winner
  • The Presidents Medals Students Awards 1998
    RIBA, England, 1998
    Commendation, Channel 5 Project, Leeds City Center, United Kingdom.
  • Architectural Drawing Contest
    Royal Summer Exhibition, Burlington Square, London, England, 1998 1st Prize
  • Fabricated Evidence, Architectural Design Competition, England, 1997
    2nd Prize Winner with Retreat Housing Project
  • Architecture and Landscape Architecture Student Awards
    The Richard Rogers Partnership, London, England, 1997
  • Bovis AJ Awards
    Outstanding work in Rome, Italia // 1995


  • University of Pennsylvania, USA
    Graduate School of Fine Arts
    Master of Architecture // Distinction
  • Leeds University, United Kingdom
    Department of Architecture
    Bachelor of Architecture // Distinction
    Diploma in Architecture // Distinction
  • University of Tokyo
    Master of Architecture // Distinction

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