Indian architect Balakrishna Doshi wins Nobel equivalent Pritzker Prize

Balakrishna Doshi
Balakrishna Doshi (Photo courtesy:Sanyam Bahga/CC) Sanyam Bahga

Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi was awarded this year's Pritzker Prize for being able to interpret architecture and transform it into buildings that respect Eastern culture in the United States, simultaneously improving the quality of life.The Pritzker Prize is considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize in architecture.

Long been India-born foremost architects and urban planner, Doshi worked with legendary architect and urban planner Le Corbusier during the 1950s and returned to India to pioneer designing extensive low-cost housing projects and public institutions.

The judging panel said it recognized the Pune-born architect for his "exceptional" work, his commitment and dedication to his country and its communities, his influence as a professor and for always being an excellent example for professionals and students the world over. Essentially, he tried to bring to life the ancient Vaastu shilpa and make it environment-friendly.

Born in Pune in 1927, the 90-year-old architect designed the famous Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and the Aranya Low Cost Housing development in Indore which bagged him the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

"Over the years, Balkrishna Doshi has always created an architecture that is serious, never flashy or a follower of trends," the judging panel said in its statement.

"With a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to his country and its people through high quality, authentic architecture, he has created projects for public administrations and utilities, educational and cultural institutions, and residences for private clients, among others," the statement added.

"Doshi is acutely aware of the context in which his buildings are located. His solutions take into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions, and therefore his architecture is totally engaged with sustainability," the panel - headed by Australia's Glenn Murcutt - said.

Doshi, in turn, said that his works are an extension of his life, his philosophy and his dreams, adding that he owes winning the coveted award to his "guru," Charles-Edouard Jeanneret - known as Le Corbusier - with whom he worked during the 1950s in Paris.

Doshi has been the founder director of the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad (1962–72), the School of Planning (1972–79), founder Dean of the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (1972–81), founder member of the Visual Arts Centre, Ahmedabad and founder Director of the Kanoria Centre for Arts, Ahmedabad.

Dr. Doshi has been instrumental in establishing the nationally and internationally known research institute Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design. The institute has done pioneering work in low-cost housing and city planning. His work is considered noteworthy for his pioneering work on low-income housing. he is also noted for designs which incorporate concepts of sustainability in innovative ways.

He appeared cameo in three films -- the 2015 Tamil movie O Kadhal Kanmani and in Mani Ratnam's O Kadhal Kanmani, and Shaad Ali's Ok Jaanu.

Doshi, in his acceptance statement, "humbly" thanked the judging panel for recognizing his work.

(With inputs from IANS)