Balkrishna Doshi, a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Indian Institute of Architects, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, was born in Pune, India on August 26, 1927, into an extended Hindu family that had been involved in the furniture industry for two generations. After initial study at the J J School of Architecture, Bombay, he worked for four years with Le Corbusier as Senior Designer (1951-54) in Paris. He returned to India in 1954 to oversee Le Corbusier’s projects in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad, which include the Mill Owner’s Association Building (Ahmedabad, 1954) and Shodhan House (Ahmedabad, 1956), among others. Beginning in 1962, Doshi also worked with Louis I Kahn as an associate to build the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and they continued to collaborate for over a decade.
In 1956, Doshi hired two architects and founded his own practice, Vastushilpa, which has since been renamed Vastushilpa Consultants and grown to employ five partners and sixty employees, and has completed more than 100 projects since its inception. Infused with lessons from Western architects before him, he forged his artistic vision with a deep reverence for life, Eastern culture, and forces of nature to create an architecture that was personal, laced with sights, sounds, and memories from his past. Alongside a deep respect for Indian history and culture, elements of his youth—memories of shrines, temples and bustling streets; scents of lacquer and wood from his grandfather’s furniture workshop—all find a way into his architecture. Of the tremendous range of completed buildings, which include institutions, mixed-use complexes, housing projects, public spaces, galleries, and private residences, Doshi recalls one of his most personal endeavors, Sangath (Ahmedabad, 1980), his architecture studio.
Doshi established Vastushilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design in 1978 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. Doshi was Founder, former Director and former Chairman of the School of Architecture and Planning (Ahmedabad, 1966-2012), which was renamed CEPT University in 2002. He is currently Dean Emeritus and continues to reside in Ahmedabad.
Doshi has been a member of the Jury for several international and national competitions including the Indira Gandhi, National Centre for Arts and Aga Khan Award for Architecture. He served on the Pritzker Prize Jury from 2005-2007. Apart from his international fame as an architect, Doshi is equally known as educator and institution builder. He has been the first founder Director of School of Architecture, Ahmedabad (1962-72), first founder Director of School of Planning (1972-79), first founder Dean of Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (1972-81), founder member of Visual Arts Centre, Ahmedabad and first founder Director of Kanoria Centre for Arts, Ahmedabad. Doshi has been instrumental in establishing the nationally and internationally known research institute Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design. The institute has done pioneering work in low cost housing and city planning. As an academician has been visiting the U.S.A. and Europe since 1958 and has held important chairs in American Universities.
Doshi was a member of the International Committee for preparing the International Charter on the Education of Architects, sponsored by International Union of Architects in association with UNESCO (1995), and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania, United States (1990) and McGill University, Canada (2005). He has been a visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; Rice University, Houston; Washington University in St. Louis; and University of Hong Kong, among others, and has lectured at prestigious schools and institutions throughout the world.
For his numerous contributions as an architect, urban planner, teacher, for his steadfast example of integrity and his tireless contributions to India and beyond, the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury selects Balkrishna Doshi as the 2018 Pritzker Laureate.
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