At 94, Balkrishna Doshi is being recognised for his career spanning seven decades, with over 100 built projects, across India.
Ahmedabad-based Balkrishna Doshi will receive the Royal Gold Medal 2022 by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the world’s highest honour for architecture. At 94, Doshi is being recognised for his career spanning seven decades, with over 100 built projects, across India. The Royal Gold Medal is “approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture”. The award will be presented to Doshi at a special ceremony in 2022.
RIBA President Simon Allford has said, “It was an honour and a pleasure to chair the committee in selecting Balkrishna Doshi as the 2022 Royal Gold Medallist…he has influenced generations of architects through his delightfully purposeful architecture. Influenced by his time spent in the office of Le Corbusier his work nevertheless is that of an original and independent thinker – able to undo, redo and evolve. In the 20th century, when technology facilitated many architects to build independently of local climate and tradition, Balkrishna remained closely connected with his hinterland: its climate, technologies new and old and crafts.”
Many of his iconic buildings include Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore; Sangath, his studio in Ahmedabad; Ahmedabad School of Architecture – renamed CEPT University in 2002 – which promoted collaborative learning; and Aranya Low Cost Housing (1989), Indore (see note below), which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995.
In his acceptance of the award, Doshi has said, “I am pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Queen of England. What a great honour! The news of this award brought back memories of my time working with Le Corbusier in 1953 when he had just received the news of getting the Royal Gold Medal. I vividly recollect his excitement to receive this honour from Her Majesty. He said to me metaphorically, ‘I wonder how big and heavy this medal will be.’ Today, six decades later, I feel truly overwhelmed to be bestowed with the same award as my guru, Le Corbusier – honouring my six decades of practice. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my wife, my daughters and most importantly my team and collaborators at Sangath my studio.”
A Pritzker Award-winner, Doshi has been instrumental in influencing architectural education and had given form to ideas of modernism, without compromising on vernacular techniques.
First published by The Indian Express on 10 Dec. 2021
Read an older article Low-Cost Housing needs Dignity, says Indian Architect Balkrishna Doshi
See chapter 4.1 (pages 22 to 34) of the paper Social Sustainability through Neighbourhood design for a case study of ‘Aranya’ (checked on 10 Oct. 2019)