Oscar Holland, CNNBalkrishna Doshi, 95, India’s first Pritzker Prize laureate, championed public architecture, low-cost housing.
Oscar Holland, CNN
Balkrishna Doshi, the Indian subcontinent’s celebrated architect, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 95. He was India’s first — and to date, only — winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, the profession’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Throughout his career, Doshi championed public architecture and low-cost housing for India’s poor. His projects included the Tagore Memorial Hall and Amdavad ni Gufa, a subterranean museum with domed roofs that protrude playfully above ground, as well as the Aranya Low Cost Housing Project, an intricate network of interconnected passages, courtyards and public spaces.
Doshi was heavily influenced by 20th-century masters, Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, and his work was focused on his home country. He worked under Le Corbusier in Paris in the early 1950s before returning to India to oversee the modernist master’s projects in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. He settled in the latter, where he established his practice, Vastu Shilpa Consultants, and would later complete some of his best-known projects.
In 2018, Doshi expressed his commitment to using architecture as a force for public good. He believed that if the government gave people a little piece of land, they could build their own homes and create a sense of community. He also noted that over time, people built larger homes and created a multicultural, multi-religious society.
In his lifetime, Doshi touched humanity in every socio-economic class of his native country. His practice, Studio Sangath, shared the news of his passing on Instagram with a message signed by his family and business partners, calling him a “light in this world.” Doshi’s legacy will continue to influence the discourse of architecture throughout India and internationally.