Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe

Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe attended Royal College where he was College Prefect, Editor of the School Magazine and received the Steward Panel Prize for Shakespeare and English Literature.

In 1971, he received his B.Sc. in Built Environment from the University of Ceylon and graduated top of class with Part I of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). In 1974, he earned his graduate degree in architecture and RIBA Part II at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University of London. In 1975, Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe received the Donald P. Ewart Scholarship to the University of Kansas, where he earned his M.Arch, summa cum laude. In 2003, he earned his architecture doctorate in sustainable design from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe was the first person of color to be elected to the prestigious position of National President of American Institute of Architects (AIA) in the 140 year history of the AIA. He also received the “Exceptional Achievement Award” from Sri Lanka Foundation in 2008. Dr. Barr Kumarakulasinghe has taught for over two decades as a Professor of Architecture and Planning.

While serving as National President of the American Institute of Architects, Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe conceived and promoted the pioneering concept of leaving something of value behind in an AIA Convention host city—“not just a lot of hot air and trash.”

The inaugural project was launched as part of the AIA Convention in New Orleans in 1997 and created a shelter for the homeless with a series of green pavillions on 7 acres of land. The success of the first project was voted unanimously by the AIA to continue as an “AIA Legacy Project” and has been undertaken at every national convention since 1997. Also during his tenure as National President, Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe conferred an AIA charter to the Hong Kong chapter in 1997 in the face of resistance because of the historical hand over of Hong Kong to China that same year. Today, AIA Hong Kong is the largest overseas chapter and remains testament to the great vision and leadership of Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe.

Since 1975, Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe has enjoyed teaching alongside his professional career at the University of Kansas, Florida A&M Architecture Center, Washington, D.C., Howard University, Washington-Alexandria Center, Virginia Tech, Ball State University, University of Maryland and Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe has worked on numerous projects including the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C., the Washington National Cathedral, Georgetown University campus, George Washington University campus, the World Bank, Altos Escondidos Eco- Development in Panama, Eco Maya Condominiums in Mexico, the Cortlandt Medical Building in New York and the Embassy of Trinidad in Washington D.C.

Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe is a fellow at The American Institute of Architects and Bahamas Institute of Architects and is a Honorary fellow at Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Japan Institute of Architect, Philippine Institute of Architects and Pan American Federation of Architect. He is also Honorary member, Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe is a member of Royal Institute of British Architect and International Interior Design Association and the U.S. Green Building Council. He is also a Member of Honor, La Federación de Colegios de Arquitectos de la República Méxicana.

Dr. Barr-Kumarakulasinghe has also tirelessly offered his professional services as a volunteer with many organizations including the Washington Buddhist Vihara, the Emergency Ward at Batticaloa Hospital in Sri Lanka, FEMA/NIC and with the Luther Place Shelter for Battered Women & Children. Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe also works as the Director of Environmental Design Technology at the School of Architecture and Planning at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Dr. Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Dipica Wickramanayake and son Luke.