Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi is set to receive the British Royal Gold Medal 2022, which is awarded since 1848 and is among the world’s highest honours for architecture. The 2022 Royal Gold Medal selection committee was chaired by the members of The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The honour is personally awarded b the British Queen and is awarded to a person or group of people with a significant influence on the advancement of architecture.
Balkrishna Doshi, who is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2021, is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan (2020), the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2011), The Pritzker Architecture Prize (2018); Prime Minister’s National Award for Excellence in Urban Planning and Design, India (2000); Global Award for Lifetime Achievement for Sustainable Architecture, Institut Francais d’Architecture, Paris (2007); Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1993-1995) and the Gold Medal, Academy of Architecture of France (1988).
Spanning a 70 year career, Balkrishna Doshi has built over 100 projects. “His buildings combine pioneering modernism with vernacular, informed by a deep appreciation of the traditions of India’s architecture, climate, local culture and craft,” says RIBA release. Among his projects are administrative buildings, cultural facilities, housing and residential buildings. Balakrishna Doshi is known worldwide for his urban planning and social housing projects. He is a visiting professor in India and universities worldwide.
“Today, six decades later I feel truly overwhelmed to be bestowed with the same award as my guru, Le Corbusier – honouring my six decades of practice,” said Doshi.
Doshi was born in 1927 in Pune, in an extended family of furniture makers. He studied at the J J School of Architecture, Bombay. Later he worked with Le Corbusier as Senior Designer (1951-54) in Paris for four years and another four years in India as a supervisor for projects in Ahmedabad. As an associate with Louis Kahn he participated in the construction of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and later other projects for another decade. He founded Vastushilpa in 1956 along with two architects. Vastushilpa has a multi-disciplinary practice, with ﬁve partners spanning three generations, and sixty employees.
Some of the know projects of Doshi include Shreyas Comprehensive School Campus (1958-63), Ahmedabad; low cost housing Atira Guest House (1958), Ahmedabad; the building to house rare documents – Institute of Indology (1962) in Ahmedabad; Ahmedabad School of Architecture (1966 – 2012) now renamed CEPT University in 2002; a 700 seat Brutalist auditorium in Ahmedabad – Tagore Hall & Memorial Theatre (1967); former theatre and auditorium in Ahmedabad – Premabhai Hall (1976); Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977 – 1992); the studio for his architecture practice ‘Vastu Shilpa’ – Sangath (1981); Kanoria Centre for Arts (1984); Indore’s Aranya Low Cost Housing (1989), that won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995; and a cave-like art gallery that exhibits the work of artist Maqbool Fida Husain – Amdavad ni Gufa (1994).