Updated: Jun 4, 2018
Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi delighted us with the news of him becoming the first Indian to win the Pritzker Award! As the entire country rejoices in the 90-year old architect's new-found place in the history of Indian architecture, let us take a look at the varied array of his work throughout his long-spanned career of 70 meaningful years.
B V Doshi's projects have always had a distinguished voice of their own and they grow with you, just like he says, "Architecture is an extension of our body. It's not outside of me, it is a part of me and we live within it." All of them have a language that sing boldly of modernism in an environment cohesive structure, as is observed in his own office which is now one of his illustrious works – the Sangath at Ahmedabad. How beautifully he has crafted his workplace with vaults that bring in light so efficiently, juxtaposed with the rainforest theme as you walk through ponds and trees to the entrance, an instant connect with nature.
One of his other work which displays ‘Form follows Feel’ holds true in his ‘Amdavad ni gufa’ or the Husain Doshi Gufa which is an underground art gallery exhibiting works of the Indian artist Maqbool Fida Husain. It is made out of ferro-cement and has a unique form inspired by waves. This little cave fills you with peace and almost forces you to get in touch with your emotional side.
He is most celebrated for his housing projects. He changed the way low-cost housing was looked at. Some of his projects include – Aranya low cost housing in Indore, Atira housing in Ahmedabad, IIFCO township among other notable ones.
He hasn't limited himself to being one of India's finest architects, but has taken it upon him to disseminate his knowledge to the future architects as a teacher, an educationist. He started his own school in Ahmedabad – CEPT ( Centre for Environment planning ) that has revolutionized ways to look at the architecture of a building and is one of the best Architecture and Design Schools in India even today. He believes that “This symphony is what architecture is all about. My work is the story of my life, continuously evolving, changing and searching…searching to take away the role of architecture, and look only at life.”
His other works include NIFT in Delhi and IIM in Bangalore that draws inspiration from the olden city of Fatehpur Sikri with a modern twist with stone being the primary material.
Architect Doshi believes the turning point in his life was when he worked with one of the legends of architecture – Le Corbusier for four years between 1951-1954. Working under him revolutionized the way he thought and worked and that has translated into all his works henceforth. He calls him his “guru” from whom he learnt everything, from responsiveness to climate, landscape, function, tradition etc. He has also worked with another illustrious architect Louis Kahn on his project IIM in Ahmedabad, after which he started his own practice in 1955 called Vaastu Shilpa and continues to serve for the greater purpose of architecture that surely is an extension to his soul.