The architect, urban planner and Indian professor Balkrishna Doshi, has been selected as the Pritzker 2018 Architecture Prize. His work is deeply personal, receptive and meaningful.

Balkrishna Doshi.

Architect, urban planner, and educator. Over the past 70 years, Doshi has played a pivotal role in shaping the discourse of architecture throughout India. Influenced by two of the masters of twentieth-century architecture, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, and Louis Khan, Doshi has been able to interpret architecture and transform it into built works that respect the Eastern culture, while improving quality of life in India.

His ethical and personal approach to architecture has touched the lives of all socioeconomic classes in a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s. “My works are an extension of my life, philosophy, and dreams, in which I try to create the treasure of the architectural spirit. I owe this prestigious award to my guru, Le Corbusier. His teachings led me to ask about my identity and forced me to discover a new contemporary expression adopted regionally for a sustainable holistic habitat, “says Doshi. “With all my humility and gratitude I want to thank the Pritzker jury for this very moving and rewarding recognition of my work. This reaffirms my belief that “when lifestyle and architecture merge, life celebrates,” he concludes.

Through a response to Modernism, Doshi’s architecture explores the relationships between the fundamental needs of human life, connectivity with oneself and culture, and the understanding of social traditions, in the context of a place and its surroundings. Memories of childhood, like the rhythms of the weather and the sound of the bells of the temple, are part of his designs. He describes architecture as an extension of the body, and his ability to carefully address function in relation to climate, landscape, and urbanization is demonstrated through his choice of materials, overlapping spaces, and utilization of natural and harmonizing elements.

“Professor Doshi has said that ‘Design turns shelters into homes, homes into communities and cities into magnets of opportunity,’ says Tom Pritzker. “The work of Balkrishna Doshi’s life really underlines the mission of the Prize, demonstrating the art of architecture and an incalculable value in the service of humanity. I have the honor to present the 40th anniversary of this award to an architect who has contributed more than 60 years of service for all of us, “he adds.

In 1989, he designed Aranya Low-Cost Housing (Indore), which currently houses more than 80,000 people through a system of houses, courtyards and a labyrinth of internal roads. More than 6,500 residences range from modest one-bedroom units to spacious homes, accommodating residents of low and medium resources. Overlapping layers and transition areas foster the fluidity and adaptive living conditions customary in Indian society.

Doshi’s architecture is both poetic and functional. The Indian Institute of Administration (Bangalore, 1977-1992), inspired by the traditional labyrinthine Indian cities and temples, is organized as an interlocking of buildings, courts, and galleries. It also provides a variety of spaces protected from the warm climate. The masonry scale and vast corridors infused with a vegetation campus allow visitors to be simultaneously indoors and outdoors.

As people pass through buildings and spaces, Doshi invites them to experience their surroundings and also suggests the possibility of transformation. For the jury of the 2018 prize “Over the years, Balkrishna Doshi has always created a serious architecture, never a striking trendsetter. With a deep sense of responsibility and the desire to contribute to his country and his people through an authentic architecture and high quality. “He has created projects for public administrations and services, educational and cultural institutions, and residences for private clients, among others. “Doshi is very aware of the context in which his buildings are located. Its solutions take into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions, and therefore its architecture is totally committed to sustainability, “they conclude.

The name of his studio, Sangath (Ahmedabad, 1980), is translated as “move together”. The location of common spaces, including a garden and an outdoor amphitheater, highlight Doshi’s respect for collaboration and social responsibility. Vaulted ceilings, porcelain tile coverings, green areas and sunken spaces mitigate the extreme heat. The detail of the mosaic is repeated in the turtle shell, ceiling inspired by Amdavad Ni Gufa (Ahmedabad, 1994), an undulating ferrocement art, similar to a cave, located underground, with works by Maqbool Fida Husain. Other notable works include the academic institution Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT University) (Ahmedabad, 1966-2012); cultural spaces such as Tagore Memorial Hall (Ahmedabad, 1967), the Institute of Indology (Ahmedabad, 1962) and Premabhai Hall (Ahmedabad, 1976); housing complexes Vidhyadhar Nagar Masterplan and Urban Design (Jaipur, 1984) and LifeInsurance Corporation Housing or “Bima Nagar” (Ahmedabad, 1973); and KamalaHouse private residence (Ahmedabad, 1963), among many others.

“All the objects that surround us, and nature itself – light, sky, water, and storm – everything is in a symphony,” Doshi explains. “And this symphony is what architecture is about. My work the history of my life, evolving, changing and searching … looking to remove the role of architecture, and look only at life “. Doshi is the award-winning number 45 of the Pritzker Prize and the first to come from India. The Architecture Prize ceremony commemorates the 40th anniversary of the award and will be held at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, in May. The Laureate will present a conference, in association with the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, of the University of Toronto on May 16, 2018.