Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi has been named the 2018 recipient of the Pritzker Prize, the highest honour in the field. He is the first Indian and the 45th laureate to receive the award.
The 90-year-old pioneer of low-cost housing projects will receive a grant and a bronze medallion at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto on May 16. “It is a very wonderful thing that happened,” he told The New York Times about the announcement in a telephone interview from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
His 70-year career includes projects with architectural icons Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. “My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create treasury of the architectural spirit,” Doshi told architecture and design magazine Dezeen reported. “I owe this prestigious prize to my 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 began his career in Europe after completing his graduation in Mumbai and working as an apprentice at Le Corbusier’s office in Paris. His major projects include the Ahmedabad School of Architecture, which he designed and founded in 1966, and the studio he made for his firm Vastu-Shilpa in 1981. He also designed Ahmedabad’s Amdavad ni Gufa gallery in 1995 that is known for its cave-like structure. The laureate is behind the 1989 design of Aranya Low Cost Housing project in Indore that provided homes for 80,000 people, the magazine reported.
The jury described his style as serious. “Balkrishna Doshi has continually exhibited the objectives of the Pritzker Architecture Prize to the highest degree,” it said. “He has been practicing the art of architecture, demonstrating substantial contributions to humanity, for over 60 years.”
The international prize was set up in 1979 to honour the work of living architects.