The Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies was established in 1992 by Upanagar Shikshan Mandal with a grant from Kamla Raheja Foundation. A group of educationist, professionals and artists became involved in envisioning a new direction for this school.
In the formulating of this agenda one of the processes involved was a review of conventionally existing modes of architectural education, research and practice. One of the prime questions that was raised involved the conventional role of the architect as a mere provider of services according to the market laws of the demand and supply; or as technicians providing sound, building solutions. The attempt right from the very inception of the school was to open up architecture towards other disciplines that constitute the expanded field of cultural studies. This became a primary concern of the formulators of the agenda that the school was to follow. Thus the role of the institute became determined by its attempt to create the appropriate academic environment for such an endeavour.
The KRVIA since its inception has been deeply involved in issues concerning the city. Its location within this bustling metropolis has given it the advantage of becoming a laboratory of sorts that engages and interacts with the city as it changes. Through its varied research and consultancy projects, and within the undergraduate curricular and extra-curricular programs, the KRVIA has engaged actively with the city and provided an important platform for debate and discussion. It has become an important centre for the production of knowledge on urbanity, especially in the Indian context.