New Delhi, January 24
Leading modern Indian architect, urban planner and educator Balkrishna Doshi passed away on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in condoling the death.
“Dr BV Doshi Ji was a brilliant architect and a remarkable institution builder. The coming generations will get glimpses of his greatness by admiring his rich work across India. His passing away is saddening. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti,” the PM tweeted.
Born in a humble family in Pune, Doshi, 95, went on to study at the JJ School of Architecture, Bombay, then worked for four years with the legendary Le Corbusier for four years in Paris as senior designer (1951-54) and later again for four years in India supervising Corbusier’s projects in Ahmedabad.
Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (awarded in 2022) and a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects, Doshi established his office Vastu-Shilpa (Environmental Design) in 1955.
His extraordinary repertoire includes top educational campuses, including for CEPT University, Ahmedabad; NIFT, New Delhi; and IIM Bangalore; besides several others.
Doshi was an educator and institution builder, with his autobiography ‘Paths Uncharted’ recounting the exceptional journey.
He was the first Founder-Director of School of Architecture and School of Planning, Ahmedabad.
Doshi regarded Corbusier as his guru. Only last year, Doshi was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for 2022, one of the world’s highest honours for architecture.
Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Queen Elizabeth of the UK and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture.
With an 80-year-long career and over 100 built projects, Balkrishna Doshi influenced the direction of architecture in India and its adjacent regions through both practice and teaching.
His buildings combine pioneering modernism with vernacular, informed by a deep appreciation of the traditions of India’s architecture, climate, local culture and craft.
His projects include administrative and cultural facilities, housing developments and residential buildings.
The Royal Award citation for Doshi says he has become internationally known for his visionary urban planning and social housing projects, as well as his work in education, both in India and as a visiting professor at universities around the world.
Doshi’s key projects include Shreyas Comprehensive School Campus (1958-63), Ahmedabad; Atira Guest House (1958), Ahmedabad, low- cost housing; The Institute of Indology (1962), Ahmedabad, a building to house rare documents; Ahmedabad School of Architecture (1966, with additions until 2012) - renamed CEPT University in 2002 - which focused on creating spaces that promoted collaborative learning; Tagore Hall and Memorial Theatre (1967), a 700-seat Brutalist auditorium in Ahmedabad; Premabhai Hall (1976), Ahmedabad, former theatre and auditorium; Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru (1977-1992), a business school; Sangath (1981), the studio for his architecture practice, Vastu Shilpa; Kanoria Centre for Arts (1984), an arts and creative hub; Aranya Low-Cost Housing (1989), Indore, which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995; and Amdavad ni Gufa (1994), a cave-like art gallery that exhibits the work of artist Maqbool Fida Husain.
Last year, upon hearing the news that he would receive the Royal Gold Medal in 2022, Doshi had said: “The news of this award brought back memories of my time working with Le Corbusier in 1953 when he had just received the news of getting the Royal Gold Medal. I vividly recollect his excitement to receive this honour from Her Majesty.”
Doshi had added, “Today, six decades later, I feel truly overwhelmed to be bestowed with the same award as my guru, Le Corbusier - honouring my six decades of practice.”
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