#RespectYourElders: He’s an architect who’s made an impact beyond designing beautiful buildings.
Balkrishna Doshi (born 1927) is the newest recipient of the 2018 Pritzker Prize, also known as the “Nobel for architects.” Doshi was honored for his work over the last six decades, during which he’s helped transform the study and practice of architecture. He began studying architecture in 1947, and some of his most well-known projects were completed as recently as the early 2000s.
Doshi is best known for his commitment to using local materials and designing sustainable buildings. He’s designed more than 100 spaces that reflect these values, most notably higher education buildings, such as the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and New Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion Technology.
He’s also been a champion for people experiencing poverty, and has spent much of his career rebuilding impoverished areas, such as the Aranya Low Cost Housing development in Indore, India. In an interview with The Guardian, Doshi elaborated on his commitment to dignifying low-income housing: “Architects and urban planners involved in low-income housing projects – as well as architectural education – needed to move away from their focus on the designer as individual to being far more collaborative, compassionate and invested in the dignity of those they house.”
Doshi is also highly regarded as an educator. He’s been a director of prestigious architecture and design schools across India such as CEPT University. Internationally, he’s been a fellow for the Royal Institute of British Architects, and has frequently visited and received recognition across the U.S. and Europe. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2011 was honored with France’s highest honor for the arts, “Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.” His most recent award, of course, was the 2018 Pritzker Prize.
Even with several prestigious awards under his belt, Doshi remains down to earth. He said in an interview with NPR, “Why should we take architecture seriously?” He also said when someone walks into one of his buildings, he wants it to feel like a “journey of discovery.”
Take a look at some of Doshi’s designs in this NPR article — which is your favorite?