Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Indian architect wins prestigious Pritzker Prize

Three architects in the volcanic Catalonian landscape Indian architect wins prestigious Pritzker Prize
Stacy Diaz | 08 March, 2018, 10:14

I owe this prestigious prize to my guru, Le Corbusier. Philip Johnson claimed the first prize in 1979, with other notable winners including Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas and the late Zaha Hadid.

"The work of Balkrishna Doshi truly underscores the mission of the Prize - demonstrating the art of architecture and an invaluable service to humanity", Pritzker said. The Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore, 1977-1992), inspired by traditional maze-like Indian cities and temples, is organized as interlocking buildings, courts and galleries. He calls his own architecture studio in Ahmedabad, which he built in 1980, "an ongoing school where one learns, unlearns and relearns".

After studying architecture in Mumbai, Doshi joined Le Corbusier in Paris in the early 1950s, returning to Ahmedabad to work on several of Corbusier's buildings there and ultimately overseeing Chandigarh. It added: "With an understanding and appreciation of the deep traditions of India's architecture, he united prefabrication and local craft and developed a vocabulary in harmony with the history, culture, local traditions and the changing times of his home country". In Indore, his Vidhyadhar Nagar satellite development close to the old city of Jaipur combined Hindu traditions with Modernist ideas on planning. Aranya Low Cost Housing accommodates over 80,000 individuals through a system of houses, courtyards and a labyrinth of internal pathways. His design for the Aranya Low Cost Housing even received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1996. The Prize is awarded annually to honour a living architect (s) whose work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment and has produced significant contributions to humanity and built the environment through the art of architecture.

The architect and urban planner, who turned 90 past year, described the decision as "a great surprise" during a phone interview from Ahmedabad, where he lives and works. For more information, visit the Pritzker Prize website. Last year, it was awarded to Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta from Spain for their outstanding contributions in the field of architecture.

Doshi, one of the last living architects to have apprenticed with the Franco-Swiss trailblazer Le Corbusier, is known to build low-priced housing and public institutions. according to an architectural magazine Arch Daily.

If Doshi has a trademark it is less a formal or material one than an insistence on extending the public realm and the notion of collective or civic space deep within his layered and spatially complex projects.

Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad; cultural spaces in Ahmedabad such as Tagore Memorial Hall, the Institute of Indology, and Premabhai Hall; and private residence Kamala House (Ahmedabad), among many others. Doshi will collect a prize of $100,000 and a bronze medallion, which will be presented during a ceremony at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto on March 16.

"It seems I should take an oath and remember it for my lifetime: to provide the lowest class with the proper dwelling", Doshi said in 1954.

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

The jury added that Doshi "constantly demonstrates that all good architecture and urban planning must not only unite objective and structure but must take into account climate, site, technique, and craft, along with a deep understanding and appreciation of the context in the broadest sense".

Photograph is by Edmund Sumner.