Architect and educator Balkrishna Doshi, best-known for his innovative work designing low-cost housing, has been awarded the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the first Indian to win architecture’s highest honour in its 40-year history.The award was announced Wednesday by Tom Pritzker of the Chicago-based Hyatt Foundation. Doshi has been an architect, urban planner, and educator for 70 years. The foundation called the 90-year-old’s work “poetic and functional,” and noted his ability to create works that both respect eastern culture and enhance quality of life in India.
Doshi has been an architect, urban planner, and educator for 70 years. The foundation called the 90-year-old’s work “poetic and functional,” and noted his ability to create works that both respect eastern culture and enhance quality of life in India.Among Doshi’s achievements: the Aranya low-cost housing project in Indore, which accommodates over 80,000 people, many of them poor, through a system of houses, courtyards and internal pathways.
Born in 1927 in the city of Pune, Doshi studied architecture in Mumbai and later worked under Le Corbusier, overseeing his projects in the cities of Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. He was the founding director of Ahmedabad’s School of Architecture and Planning, which is now known as CEPT University.He founded his own practice in 1956, and lives and works in the western city of Ahmedabad. Reached at home, Doshi said his life’s work has been “to empower the have-nots, the people who have nothing.”
“What I have done for close to the last 60 years, working in rural areas, working in low-cost housing, worrying about India’s future. Now all this comes together and gives me a chance to say, “Here we are!” he said.Doshi was influenced early by two of the great 20th-century architects, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn.The prize citation noted how their influence “can be seen in the robust forms of concrete which he employed.” But he grew into his own.
Doshi’s work ranges from the blocky, concrete Life Insurance Corporation Housing buildings in Ahmedabad to the naturalist curves of that city’s Amdavad ni Gufa underground art gallery.Doshi will be formally awarded the prize in a May ceremony at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.