Five Thoughts on Indian Architecture, Design, and Life: Balkrishna Doshi

Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi (08/26/1927 – 01/24/2023), chief architect, urban planner, educator, and winner of the 2018 Pritzker Prize and the 2022 RIBA Gold Medal, died at the age of 95 in Ahmedabad. One of the most famous Indian architects who shaped the architecture of the country and its surrounding regions, Doshi was inspired by the work of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, “combining innovative modernism with the vernacular.”

Known primarily for his urban planning and social housing projects, and for his academic work as a visiting professor at various universities around the world, Balkrishna Doshi has designed some of the most iconic buildings in India over a 70-year career.

He began studying architecture in Bombay in 1947 when India became an independent nation. But he never completed it, leaving for London: he wanted to prepare for the exam at the Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA. From a friend, he learned about Le Corbusier’s projects in India and joined his office in Paris in 1951. There he worked on projects for Chandigarh and later on the Mill Owners Association building and the Shodhan house in Ahmedabad. Beginning in 1955, Doshi supervised the construction of Le Corbusier’s projects in Ahmedabad, where he settled and opened his own practice.

In 1961, when Doshi was commissioned to build the new Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, he offered his job to Louis Kahn and became his assistant architect for the project. A year later, Doshi initiated and founded the School of Architecture, Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) in Ahmedabad, for which he designed and built a building in 1968 and where he taught until 2008.

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