Balkrishna Doshi receives 2018 Pritzker Prize

Balkrishna Doshi has been named the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, making him the first Indian architect to win architecture’s highest honour.

Balkrishna Doshi has been an architect, urban planner and educator for over 70 years and has studied or worked with some of the masters of 20th century architecture, including Le Corbusier and Louis Khan.

With his unique ability to interpret architecture and transform it into built works that both respect eastern culture and enhance the quality of living in India, Doshi’s “ethical and personal approach to architecture has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s”, according to the Pritzker jury.

Doshi himself has said that “design converts shelters into homes, housing into communities, and cities into magnets of opportunities”, said Tom Pritzker, chairman of Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award. This philosophy can be seen in his choice of materials, attention to space and use of natural elements, which harmonize function with factors like climate, landscape and urbanization.

For instance, his Aranya low-cost housing development in India presently accommodates over 80,000 individuals through a system of houses, courtyards and a labyrinth of internal pathways. The residences range from modest one-room units to spacious homes to encourage a mix of low- and middle-income residents.

His own studio, called Sangath or “moving together”, features vaulted roofs, porcelain mosaic tile coverings, gardens, and sunken communal spaces to mitigate extreme heat. Similar features can also be found in his project for the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, which takes after traditional maze-like Indian temples with its interlocking buildings, courts and galleries.

“Doshi is acutely aware of the context in which his buildings are located,” continues the jury. “His solutions take into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions, and therefore his architecture is totally engaged with sustainability.”

The 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony commemorates the 40th anniversary of the accolade, and will take place at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, this May.

Image credit: VSF

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