Works and Beliefs of RIBA Gold Medalist 2022, Balkrishna V. Doshi

Works and Beliefs of RIBA Gold Medalist ’22, Balkrishna V. Doshi

It is a surreal moment to be able to imbibe words from the maestros of the field. In one of his lectures ‘Breaking the Barriers’, Balkrishna V. Doshi described his work by starting off with three words, ‘Porosity, Paradox and Practice’ where he explained that in our country, there is much of ‘Porosity’, it seems to be vibrant and lively, at the same time living here pretty much needs confrontation with ‘Paradoxes’ in life, there are Paradoxes with which we live, and we as designers, are ‘Practicing’ in this type of setting.

Opening up with his beliefs which he built and his journey of architecture which was inspired from watching the life and lessons of his grandfather, who owned a furniture workshop, he also described how after coming into the field and getting to work with Le Corbusier, his works and his style inspired him profoundly. The influence is seen in many of Doshi’s works.

IIM Bangalore, His own residence, School of Architecture CEPT, Aranya Housing, Gufa, and many more projects that he has designed, he explained the gist of it and the inspirations he took from. It is so important and awe-spiring to understand a designer’s thought process while making the masterpiece. 

Ar. Balkrishna Doshi was selected as the Royal Gold Medalist by The Honours Committee RIBA 2022 (Simon Allford, Sir David Adjaye OBE, Alison Brooks, Kate Cheyne and Dr Gus Casely-Hayford OBE) 

His journey is something a designer should try to understand and assimilate. Spanning 7 decades of career, Doshi has designed over 100 projects in India and abroad. 

On hearing the news that he will receive the Royal Gold Medal in 2022, Balkrishna Doshi said: 

“I am pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Queen of England. What a great honor! The news of this award brought back memories of my time working with Le Corbusier in 1953 when he had just received the news of getting the Royal Gold Medal. I vividly recollect his excitement to receive this honor from Her Majesty. He said to me metaphorically, ‘I wonder how big and heavy this medal will be.’  Today, six decades later I feel truly overwhelmed to be bestowed with the same award as my guru, Le Corbusier – honoring my six decades of practice. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my wife, my daughters, and most importantly my team and collaborators at Sangath my studio.” (RIBA)

He thoughtfully questions “ Is architecture restricted? Is architecture not connected to its surroundings which makes it alive?” The answer to these questions is seen coming alive in all of his projects. 

His key projects include Shreyas Comprehensive School Campus (1958-63), Ahmedabad, India; Atira Guest House (1958), Ahmedabad, India, low-cost housing; The Institute of Indology (1962), Ahmedabad, India, a building to house rare documents; CEPT School of Architecture (1966, with additions until 2012) – renamed CEPT University in 2002 – which focused on creating spaces that promoted collaborative learning; Tagore Hall & Memorial Theatre (1967), a 700 seat Brutalist auditorium in Ahmedabad, India; Premabhai Hall (1976), Ahmedabad, India, former theatre and auditorium; Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977 – 1992), a business school; Sangath (1981), the studio for his architecture practice, Vastu Shilpa; Kanoria Centre for Arts (1984), an arts and creative hub; Aranya Low-Cost Housing (1989), Indore, India, which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995 and Amdavad ni Gufa (1994), a cave-like art gallery that exhibits the work of artist Maqbool Fida Husain. (RIBA)

Shreyas Comprehensive School Campus (1958-63)

Atira (1958)

Kamala House (1959)

CEPT School of Architecture (1966, with additions until 2012 still continued in 2021)

Tagore Hall & Memorial Theatre (1967)

Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977 – 1992)

Kanoria Centre for Arts (1984)

Aranya Low-Cost Housing (1989)

Amdavad ni Gufa (1994)

Written by : Ar. Radha Hirpara (The Architect’s Diary)

Text Credits given to RIBA where necessary.

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