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Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi wins Pritzker prize

The hundred of buildings of the first Indian draughtsman, and also the elder, in obtaining the award shows how the purification of the traditional architecture results in modern buildings

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Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi wins Pritzker prize
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"Design turns shelters into homes." Balkrishna Doshi (Pune, India, 1927), first Indian architect, and also oldest to obtain Pritzker prize, has been proving for almost 70 years that purification of traditional architecture results in modern buildings. It is that abstraction, which keeps m away from fashion, which also prevents m from putting m to date. Doshi has also argued that urban planning, landscaping and architecture cannot be separated. And besides, in architecture, responsibility is just as important as identity.

The Pritzker, which succeeds Spaniards RCR, studied architecture in Bombay. At age of 24 he traveled to Paris and spent four years in France working for Le Corbusier. With it it built in Chandigarh and in Ahmedabad. It would be in this city, fifth most populated of India, where it would grow professionally founding, and building, schools of architecture and urbanism that it directed for decades.

In 1962, when textile businessmen of Ahmedabad thought of building a business school, laureate spoke to m of Louis Kahn. The author of Kimbell Art Museum died when he was returning from one of work visits. He never saw his building finished. But it left mark of vaults in that museum which, by n, was erected in Texas. Neir Doshi would forget lessons of Kahn nor Kahn would let pass those of Doshi. Of his "guru", so calls him, Le Corbusier, had learned use of concrete and modern language. of Kahn, that archaic purged maintains its validity.

Enlarge Photo The Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi.

The cylinders, large arches and "semi-buried vaults", as he calls m, have become ir architectural hallmark. However, it uses m because y allow to coexist with sun and rains. Sagath, study he built in 1980 in Ahmedabad, proves it. That name is translated by "moving Toger" and, as Frank Lloyd Wright did in his school-study of Taliesin, is also a place that works as Office and school for 60 people

Doshi, who defends that architecture is transformation, has seen his city grow, and his country, beyond traces of British colonialism in which he was born. And he has often told how it is not opposition to above but its digestion that allows it to prosper.

In more than 100 buildings and neighborhoods that he and his studio have raised in India, patios, lattices, pergolas that protect displacement, width of streets or terraces have managed to cope with sun and take advantage of breezes building with a Logical and traditional sustainability that does not need labels and that Doshi defends since seventies of last century, when it raised, also in Ahmedabad, Institute of Technology and Environment.

Compassionate, kind and sophisticated is how he describes human being. Humble, anonymous and without adjectives is how he has always defended that it should be architecture. But no one confuses, now fashionable environmental sustainability can only go hand in side with economic sustainability and social responsibility. The great universal architects have defended it. Luis Barragán, in Mexico, and Oscar Niemeyer, in Brazil, made it clear how tradition understands places and that modern purification should work from it. That's why Doshi's modernity, like Niemeyer's or Barragán's, is a digestion and not a copy.

Enlarge Photo The Casa Kamala is home of Doshi in Ahmedabad (1958). In it natural light that seeps through joints between planes coexist with protection brake to excess of sun.

For this Indian architect, as for missing Charles Correa, it was essential to claim his own culture at a time when his country had just gained independence. Although it was also essential not to isolate and get to talk about you to world. This effort is present in discourse of an architect so fundamental for buildings he has raised as for his commitment to education of architects able to work from place and available means and not from abstract ories.

Recognizing trajectory of Doshi Pritzker is put a medal. On one hand he rewards a pioneer when designing with his feet on ground and not from distance of offices. On or hand, he recognizes an architecture that gives all senses – from touch to ear – same importance as in sight. It is very difficult to explain with images work of Balkrishna Doshi. In part re lies its value: In that it speaks more of a place than of itself. And you do, you don't have to remember, from responsibility of building with available media. This is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. 90 years old, he becomes oldest laureate. We will not wonder why Pritzker did not recognize it before. His award is added to recent awarded to Wang Shu, Alejandro Aravena or Shigeru Ban and redefine architecture as a discipline that understands whole world (not 5% of planet) as its field of action.

Six key buildings of Doshi

Sangath (Ahmedabad, 1980). It means "moving toger" and is a hybrid between dispatch and school built with semi-buried vaults and intermediate spaces-neir inside nor outside-that characterize ir architecture.

Social housing Atira (Ahmedabad, 1958). One its first projects in which imprint of Le Corbusier to purify architectural language coexists with attention to problems of its city.

The House Kamala is dwelling of Doshi in Ahmedabad (1958). In it natural light that seeps through joints between planes coexist with protection brake to excess of sun.

Faculty of Technology and Environmental studies CEPT (Ahmedabad, 1962). The concrete he learned to use with Le Corbusier, Doshi added care artisans and brick, this university building that privileges search for light and shadow.

Housing for workers of Life Insurance Corporation LIC (Ahmedabad,1973). The industrialization of Ahmedabed made necessary neighborhoods for workers in which Doshi cared for public space

Tagore Theatre (Ahmedabad, 1967). This building, one of most expressive of Doshi, shows how he knew how to interpret Brutalism, which sought to enhance message of concrete buildings, from local tradition rar than copying foreign forms.

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