Indian architect Doshi wins the Pritzker Prize

MODERNIST::In a notable career spanning six decades, Balkrishna Doshi developed an architectural style that considered human needs as well as sociocultural context


Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 6

Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi, a pioneer of low-cost housing design, on Wednesday won the prestigious Pritzker Prize, considered architecture’s Nobel prize equivalent.

The 90-year-old Doshi — one of the last living architects to have apprenticed with the Franco-Swiss trailblazer Le Corbusier — distinguished his work by committing to sustainable architecture and inexpensive housing, bringing modernist design to an India rooted in traditionalism.

He is the 45th Pritzker laureate and the first from India.

“Balkrishna Doshi has always created an architecture that is serious, never flashy or a follower of trends,” said the Pritzker jury, which said Doshi “has continually exhibited the objectives” of architecture’s highest honor.

Over the course of his career spanning six decades, Doshi developed an architectural style that considered human needs as well as sociocultural context, all the while infusing his designs with modernist elements that reflected what he called “contemporary expression for a sustainable holistic habitat.”

His accomplishments include everything from working on the Indian Institute of Management to designing the Aranya Low Cost Housing bloc in the city of Indore, completed in 1989.

The intricate labyrinth of houses, courtyards and internal trails today houses about 80,000 low to middle-income people, with more than 6,500 units ranging from modest one-bedroom apartments to spacious homes.

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

“My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams, trying to create treasury of the architectural spirit,” Doshi said in a statement thanking the Pritzker jury, in which he also cited the influence of Le Corbusier.