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Balkrishna Doshi, pioneer of modernist architecture in India, passes away

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Dr Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, who is widely revered for his contribution in the field of architecture, has passed away. He was 95. For his outstanding contribution to the field of architecture, he was conferred with Pritzker Prize in 2018 and the coveted Padma Shri in 1976.  The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi will be the recipient of the 2022 Royal Gold Medal.

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A Padma Bhushan awardee, Doshi was known for designing the buildings of the Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environment and Planning Technology (CEPT) and Mahatma Gandhi Labour Institute. His style of architecture — an amalgam of European modernist, brutalist architecture with Indian sensibilities — won many hearts.

Career and Life of Dr Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi

  • Doshi graduated from the Sir JJ School of Architecture in Mumbai in 1950 and left for Europe soon after, beginning his journey in architecture with Corbusier in Paris between 1951 and 1954. On returning to India, he worked for Corbusier in Ahmedabad.
  • He was a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and had been on the selection committee for the Pritzker Prize, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. He was also a fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects.
  • Apart from designing one of the finest buildings in Ahmedabad, Doshi also created designs for low-cost housing. His 1982 project, Aranya Low Cost Housing in Indore won him the 6th Aga Khan Award for Architecture. In another example of the international recognition of his works, Doshi was awarded France’s highest honour for the arts, the Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, in 2011.

Books he authored

The celebrated architect authored several books on art and architecture, including Paths Uncharted (2011), Balkrishna Doshi: Writings on Architecture and Identity (2019), and Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People (2019). Meanwhile, international architects ended up writing books on Doshi. This included William J R Curtis’s book Balkrishna Doshi: An Architecture for India, released in 2014.

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