Celebrated architect Balkrishna Doshi passes away at 95

Online Desk | Published: 24th January 2023 12:56 PM
Celebrated architect Balkrishna Doshi. (Photo | RIBA Twitter)

Celebrated Indian architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, who was fondly called as BV Doshi, passed away in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, due to age-related complications. He was 95 years old.  He was India's only winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize and a staunch advocate of low-cost housing for the poor.

Born in 1927 in Pune, Doshi worked with architecture legends like Le Corbusier. He also worked with Louis Kahn as an associate to build the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and many other acclaimed projects.

Architecture Digest of India took to Instagram to share the news and to offer condolences.

"A master wielder of form and light, Doshi has left an indelible legacy. A loving husband, father, grandfather, and a true inspiration to the people of the country," the post read. It added, "For us at AD, this is a heartbreaking loss; and we will miss his childlike enthusiasm, curiosity, and humility that touched us all so deeply."

His family members said no one loved life more than Doshi. "'Anand karo', celebrate life, as he would always say. He had so many people that he loved dearly and who loved him back," they said.

Doshi's architecture is seen in some of the most iconic buildings in India, including the Indian Institutes of Management in Bengaluru and Udaipur, Institute of Indology, the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi, along with the Amdavad ni Gufa underground gallery, the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), the Tagore Memorial Hall, Institute of Indology and Premabhai Hall, and the private residence Kamala House --- all in Ahmedabad.

Doshi's Aranya Low Cost Housing, a township for low- to middle-income families, in Indore won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995. The Aranya Low Cost Housing project accommodates 80,000 people with houses and courtyards linked by a maze of pathways in the city of Indore.

He was the first founder Director of the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad (1962–72), the first founder Director of the School of Planning (1972–79), and the first founder Dean of the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (1972–81).

Doshi founded his own practice, Vastushilpa, in Ahmedabad in 1956.

Several members of his family are architects.

He was awarded the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan.

"My projects have been participatory in nature and relevant to the people for which it was designed," he told AFP in a 2018 interview. "India is transforming fast and we need to do a large number of things which have to be ecologically sustainable and that would empower the people."

In 2018, he became the first Indian architect to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, referred to as the Nobel Prize of Architecture. “My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create treasury of the architectural spirit,” Doshi had said after receiving the 2018 prize.

In 2022, he was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects' Royal Gold Medal. They described his work thus, "pioneering modernism with vernacular, informed by a deep appreciation of the traditions of India's architecture, climate, local culture and craft."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday condoled the demise of Balkrishna Doshi.

"Dr B.V. Doshi Ji was a brilliant architect and a remarkable institution builder. The coming generations will get glimpses of his greatness by admiring his rich work across India. His passing away is saddening. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," Modi tweeted.

Doshi's works are preserved and displayed at Sangath Studio in Ahmedabad, run by one of his granddaughters.

(With agency inputs)

Tags : Balkrishna Doshi Indian architect BV Doshi

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