Balkrishna Doshi, winner of the 1991 Pritzker Prize and India’s most renowned architect, will be awarded the Royal Gold Medal by Her Majesty The Queen. The Royal Gold Medal is awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects for individuals or groups who have had a significant influence on architecture.
The Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi, who has a 70-year career and over 100 built projects, has influenced the direction of architecture in India and its adjacent regions both through his practice and his teaching. His buildings combine cutting-edge modernism with colorful regional vernaculars, informed by a deep appreciation of the traditions of India’s architecture, climate, crafts, and local culture.
Balkrishna Doshi was born in 1927 in Pune, India, to an extended family of furniture makers. He studied at the J J School of Architecture, Bombay, before working for four years with modernist architect Le Corbusier and four more years in India on projects designed by Le Corbusier’s firm. After this he worked with Louis Kahn as an associate to build the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and with Kahn’s firm over a period of more than a decade.
In 1956, he founded his own firm, Vastushilpa, with two other architects. Today, the firm has ﬁve partners spanning three generations and sixty employees. The practice invites dialogue and its philosophy of proactive participation applies to its office space as well – which has an open door and is designed to facilitate interaction with both clients and colleagues.
His projects demonstrate his expertise in urban planning and social housing, as well as in his educational work. He has gained international renown for these efforts.
His buildings are not simply the final product. It is his interpretation of the memories, associations, sounds, forms, spaces and images he has experienced in the course of his life. His buildings don’t dominate their surroundings, but rather blend in to create an aura of luxury.
Some influential building of B.V doshi are
Sangath Architect’s Studio, Ahemdabad, India, 1980:
Sangath, Doshi’s design studio, is a multigenerational workplace, where three generations of her family work together. At 50 years old, Doshi wanted to create something ambiguous and indescribable. This is manifested in the ambiguous spaces of Sangath.
The sanctuary’s entire ensemble merges with and rises up from the surrounding landscape, with a stepped amphitheatre, water bodies, raised plinths, and the silhouette of the vaults covered in a layer of broken ceramic tiles.
The unique design of Sangath rests on an assemblage of fragments memory and association, past and present which imbue the home with a special character.
Amdavad Ni Gudfa, Ahmedabad, India, 1994:
The design was inspired by intersecting circles and ellipses that led to the creation of an amorphous space like a womb with no beginning and no end. Non-rectilinear surfaces such as an undulating floor, curvilinear walls, domed ceiling, and slanted columns gave the luxury home a sense of intrigue.
The domed ceilings painted in dazzling hues are reminiscent of the Buddhist caves carved into rocks at Ajanta dating from the second century. The building encapsulates and heightens the play of light, form, and sound.
As a designer, Doshi’s fascination with urban design and architecture led to his creation of stories and myths about the spaces in which he was working. These stories and myths became guides for Doshi as he worked out the aesthetics of the spaces. Gufa is an underground art gallery in which the imaginary and the real are happily combined.
Some other key projects of Dosi:
Shreyas School Campus (1958–63), Ahmedabad, India
The Atira Guest House (1958), Ahmedabad, India
Low-cost housing; the Institute of Indology (1962); Ahmedabad, India
The Ahmedabad School of Architecture (1966) which focused on creating spaces that promoted collaborative learning
Tagore Hall and Memorial Theatre (1967), a 700-seat Brutalist auditorium in Ahmedabad, India
Premabhai Hall (1976); Ahmedabad, India and former theater and auditorium
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (1977 – 1992)
Sangath Studio for his architecture practice, Vastu Shilpa Kanoria Center for Arts (1984), India
Aranya Low Cost Housing (1989), which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995
Amdavad ni Gufa (1994) a cave-like art gallery that exhibits the work of Maqbool Fida Husain.