Balkrishna Doshi Wins 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize

 John Hill
7. March 2018
Balkrisha Doshi (Photo courtesy of The Pritzker Architecture Prize/VSF)
Tom Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt Foundation, has announced that Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi is the 2018 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, often referred to as B.V. Doshi, is the first architect from India to receive the prize familiarly known as architecture's highest honor. The Pritzker announcement asserts that "Doshi has been instrumental in shaping the discourse of architecture throughout India and internationally ...  Doshi has been able to interpret architecture and transform it into built works that respect eastern culture while enhancing the quality of living in India."

Doshi, the 45th Pritzker Prize laureate, was born in August 1927, making him 90 years old, or 40 years older than 2016 laureate Alejandro Aravena. In this regard, the Pritzker is functioning like a lifetime achievement award, as it did in 2015 when the award was given to the 89-year-old Frei Otto, who sadly died before the formal announcement could be made. Today's announcement does not explicitly mention Doshi's age, but it does refer to his 70 years of practicing architecture and urban planning and teaching.

Tom Pritzker's comments echo this sentiment: "The life’s work of Balkrishna Doshi truly underscores the mission of the Prize—demonstrating the art of architecture and an invaluable service to humanity. I am honored to present the 40th anniversary of this award to an architect who has contributed more than 60 years of service to us all."

Doshi says in the announcement that he owes the prize to his "guru," Le Corbusier: "His teachings led me to question identity and compelled me to discover new regionally adopted contemporary expression for a sustainable holistic habitat." Doshi was also instrumental in bringing another architect he admired, Louis I. Kahn, to India to design the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Later, Doshi designed and built a campus for the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.

"Inspired by traditional maze-like Indian cities and temples, [IIM] is organized as interlocking buildings, courts and galleries," per the Pritzker announcement. "It also provides a variety of spaces protected from the hot climate. The scale of masonry and vast corridors infused with a campus of greenery allow visitors to be simultaneously indoors and outdoors. As people pass through the buildings and spaces, Doshi invites them to experience their surroundings and also suggests the possibility of transformation."

A great way to appreciate the architecture of IIM is through the words of the architect himself, who gave a tour in 2014:
Doshi will receive the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize at a ceremony that will also commemorate the 40th anniversary of the accolade. The ceremony will take place at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, this May. Doshi will present a public lecture, in partnership with the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto on 16 May 2018.

Below are some photos of the Indian Institute of Management and other significant B.V. Doshi projects.

Indian Institute of Management:
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, 1977–1992 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, 1977–1992 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, 1977–1992 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Amdavad Ni Gufa, Ahmedabad, 1994 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Amdavad Ni Gufa, Ahmedabad, 1994 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Amdavad Ni Gufa, Ahmedabad, 1994 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Sangath Architect's Studio, Ahmedabad, 1980 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Sangath Architect's Studio, Ahmedabad, 1980 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Sangath Architect's Studio, Ahmedabad, 1980 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Kamala House, Ahmedabad, 1963 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Kamala House, Ahmedabad, 1963 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Kamala House, Ahmedabad, 1963 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Aranya Low Cost Housing, Indore, 1989 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Aranya Low Cost Housing, Indore, 1989 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Aranya Low Cost Housing, Indore, 1989 (Photo courtesy of VSF)
Balkrishna Doshi (Photo courtesy of VSF)

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