Balkrishna Doshi Indian, 1927-2023

Born in 1927 in Pune, Balkrishna Doshi studied architecture at the Sir J.J. School of Architecture in Mumbai. He is the first Indian architect to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2018 and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal for Architecture in 2022, along with the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Prime Minister’s National Award for Excellence in Urban Planning and Design, a Gold Medal from the Indian Institute of Architects, the Global Award for Lifetime Achievement for Sustainable Architecture, and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. He is a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects as well as the Indian Institute of Architects, and an honorary fellow of the American institute of Architects. As an academician and urbanist, he founded the School of Architecture, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, in Ahmedabad, and was also instrumental in setting up various institutions around the city.
Doshi worked for four years with Le Corbusier as senior designer (1951–54) in Paris and four more years in India to supervise the latter’s projects in Ahmedabad. He also worked with Louis Kahn as an associate to build the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and they continued to collaborate for over a decade. He founded his own practice, Vastushilpa, in 1956 with two architects. Today Vastushilpa has five partners spanning three generations and has sixty employees. Together they have completed more than 100 projects since the inception of the firm. Some of his most famous constructions include IIM Bangalore, School of Architecture CEPT, the Institute of Indology in Ahmedabad, the Tagore Memorial Hall and Premabhai Hall in Ahmedabad, the LIC mixed income housing in Ahmedabad, Aranya Low Cost Housing in Indore and the famously renowned Amdavad di Gufa featuring the work of M.F. Husain, to name a few. Doshi also established the Vastushilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design to evolve indigenous design and planning standards for built environments appropriate to the socio-cultural and environmental milieu of India. Today, it serves as an effective link between academics and professional consultants. The institute has done pioneering work in low cost housing, documentation and city planning.
Together with his architectural work, his drawings and paintings have also been exhibited at various museums worldwide and are part of international collections. A retrospective of his works titled Celebrating Habitat: The Real, the Virtual and the Imaginary and Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People was shown at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (2014); the Power Station of Art Shanghai, China (2017); Vitra Design Museum, Weil Am Rhein (2019); Architekturmuseum at Pinakothek de Moderne, Munich (2019); Architekturzentrum, Museum Quartier, Vienna (2020); and Wrightwood659, Chicago (2020); C-mine, Genk Belgium (2022). He has exhibited his art at several venues, including Gallery White, Baroda (2020, 2019); Bikaner House, New Delhi (2021); and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2023, 2022, 2021). His art has been internationally exhibited at Frieze London (2021) and The Armory Show, New York (2022), along with an exciting solo project at Art Basel, Basel (2022).
Doshi passed away in 2023 in Ahmedabad, India.
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