Balkrishna Doshi, one of the Indian subcontinent’s most celebrated architects, has died at the age of 95.
Doshi died Tuesday, according to a Pritzker Prize spokesperson. He was the first and to date only Indian recipient of this award, the professional equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
“Doshi has been instrumental in shaping the discourse of architecture throughout India and internationally since the 1950s,” said an emailed statement from the Pritzker Prize. “Influenced by 20th-century masters Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, he explored the basic needs of human life, the connection between self and culture, and the relationships between social traditions. Through his ethical and personal approach to the environment he touched, he touched humanity and all socio-economic classes in his home country.”
Amdavad ni Gufa is an underground museum with a domed roof playfully jutting above ground. credit: Vastu Shilpa Consultant
His practice, Studio Sangath, also shared news of his passing on Instagram with a message signed by his family and business partners.
“[In India]we talk about housing, we talk about squatters, we talk about villages, we talk about towns — everyone talks, but who’s really going to do anything about it?” —I try to work for them and empower them.
Born in Pune in 1927, Doshi worked for Le Corbusier in Paris in the early 1950s before returning to India to oversee projects for modernist masters in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. He settled in the latter, where he founded his practice, his Vastu Shilpa Consultants, and later built his most famous monuments, including the Tagore Memorial Hall and Amdavad ni Gufa, an underground museum covered by a series of domed roofs. I have completed some high profile projects.
Epitomizing Doshi’s pioneering residential complexes, the Alanya Low-Cost Housing Project features an intricate network of interconnected walkways, courtyards and public spaces. credit: Vastu Shilpa Consultant
But Doshi is also prolific elsewhere, having completed over 100 projects in cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur. Although he is internationally renowned, his work has focused almost exclusively on his home country. His other signature projects include the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore and Madhya in Jabalpur his Pradesh Power Board building.
The Alanya low-cost housing development in the city of Indore is perhaps the best representation of his prospects. Featuring an intricate network of walkways, courtyards and public spaces, it provided 6,500 affordable housing for over 80,000 people. .
“[In India]we talk about housing, we talk about squatters, we talk about villages, we talk about towns — everyone talks, but who’s really going to do something about it?” he asked. rice field. “I have made a personal decision to work for the ‘other half.’ I will work for them and try to empower them.”
Premabai Hall, an auditorium built in Ahmedabad, Doshi’s hometown. credit: Vastu Shilpa Consultant
Reflecting on his childhood encounter with “extreme poverty”, Doshi reaffirmed his commitment to public housing in India.
“These people have nothing. No land, no place, no jobs,” he said. “But when the government gives them a little piece of land, they get the feeling, ‘Let’s work hard and find a way to build our own house. , understanding, there is a general diffusion of religions, castes, customs and occupations.
“When I visited these places for the first time in almost 30 years, (I found people) they gave me a foot-high pedestal with a tap and a toilet. They have a two- or three-story building.They themselves… (they are) multicultural, multireligious people — including different income groups — and all live together. are talking and communicating.
This article has been updated with reactions to Doshi’s death.