Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi wins prestigious British medal

Renowned Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi will receive the Royal Gold Medal 2022, one of the world’s highest honors for architecture, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced.

RIBA said on Thursday that with a 70-year career and more than 100 projects built, Doshi, 94, has influenced the direction of architecture in India and adjacent regions through both his practice and his teaching.

Awarded in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is personally endorsed by Queen Elizabeth II and is awarded to an individual or group of individuals who have had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture .

“I am pleasantly surprised and deeply touched to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the hands of the Queen of England. What a great honor, ”said Doshi, upon hearing of the great victory.

“The news of this award brought back memories of my work with Le Corbusier in 1953, when he had just received the news of the obtaining of the Royal Gold Medal. I clearly remember his enthusiasm for receiving this honor from Her Majesty. He told me metaphorically, “I wonder what the size and weight of this medal will be,” he shared.

“Today, six decades later, I feel truly overwhelmed to receive the same award as my guru, Le Corbusier – in honor of my six decades of practice. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my wife, my daughters and especially my team and my collaborators at Sangath my studio ”, he declared.

RIBA said its buildings combine pioneering modernism with the vernacular, informed by a deep appreciation for the traditions of India’s architecture, climate, local culture and craftsmanship. Its projects include administrative and cultural facilities, housing estates and residential buildings. He has become internationally known for his visionary urban planning and social housing projects, as well as for his work in education, both in India and as a visiting professor at universities around the world.

RIBA President Simon Allford said: “It has been an honor and pleasure to chair the committee in selecting Balkrishna Doshi as the 2022 Royal Gold Medalist. He has influenced generations of architects with his exquisitely thoughtful architecture. Influenced by his time spent at Le Corbusier’s office, his work is nevertheless that of an original and independent thinker, capable of undoing, remaking and evolving. “

“In the twentieth century, when technology enabled many architects to build regardless of the local climate and tradition, Balkrishna remained closely linked to its hinterland: it is the climate, new and old technologies and the Arts and crafts.

“Balkrishna Doshi’s outstanding contribution to the art of architecture, construction crafts and the practice of urban design makes him the most deserving recipient of this award and I look forward to seeing him receive the medal next year.

Born in 1927 in Pune, into an extended family of furniture makers, Balkrishna Doshi studied at the JJ School of Architecture, Bombay, before working for four years with Le Corbusier as Senior Designer (1951-1954) in Paris and another four years in India overseeing projects in Ahmedabad. He worked with Louis Kahn as an associate to build the Indian Institute of Management, in Ahmedabad, and they continued to collaborate for over a decade.

He founded his own practice, Vastushilpa in 1956 with two architects. Vastushilpa is today a multidisciplinary firm with five partners over three generations and around sixty employees. The practice invites dialogue, and its philosophy of proactive participation even applies to their office space – which has an open door, inviting passers-by to enter.

Doshi’s key projects in Ahmedabad include the Shreyas Secondary School Campus (1958-63); Atira Guest House low cost accommodation (1958); The building of the Institute of Indology (1962) to house rare documents; The Ahmedabad School of Architecture – renamed CEPT University in 2002 – which focused on creating spaces for collaborative learning; Tagore Hall & Memorial Theater (1967); a brutalist auditorium with 700 seats.

Premabhai Hall (1976) theater and auditorium. Besides, he also designed the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977-1992); Sangath (1981), the studio of his architectural firm, Vastu Shilpa; Kanoria Center for Arts (1984), an artistic and creative hub; and Aranya Low Cost Housing (1989), Indore.

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