BV Doshi is the first Indian to win the prestigious Pritzker prize, architecture's highest global honour
“Life celebrates when lifestyle and architecture fuse,” says 90-year-old, as he joins Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer and Frank Gehry in receiving the field's equivalent of the Nobel prize
Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi has become the first Indian architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize – global architecture’s highest honour and the field's equivalent of the Nobel Prize – joining such big names as Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer and Frank Gehry in receiving the honour.
The 90-year-old came to prominence in post-independence India, working with such global figures as French modernist Le Corbusier and American Louis Kahn. He is known for his pioneering work in low-cost housing and modern city-planning, championing environmental sustainability, community awareness and the dignity of the poor. His designs combine modern architectural principles with Indian traditions, resources and context and are informed by childhood recollections – from the rhythms of the weather to the ringing of temple bells.
Among his finest works is the Aranya Low Cost Housing development in Indore, a system of houses, courtyards and pathways that is home to 80,000 people. The Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, another celebrated design, comprises a series of interlocking buildings, courtyards and galleries inspired by traditional maze-like Indian cities and temples. These shelter users from the hot climate and blur the boundaries between interior and exterior using greenery.
“My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams, trying to create treasury of the architectural spirit,” Doshi said in response to the news. “[Receiving the 2018 Pritzker prize] reaffirms my belief that, ‘life celebrates when lifestyle and architecture fuse’.”
The Pritzker jury said: “With an understanding and appreciation of the deep traditions of India’s architecture, Doshi united prefabrication and local craft and developed a vocabulary in harmony with the history, culture, local traditions and the changing times of his home country India."
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