Doshi is the only Indian and very few globally to have been awarded both the Royal Gold Medal and the Pritzker Architecture Prize
Credited with designing some of the iconic buildings such as Cept University in Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, and Aranya Low Cost Housing, Indore among many others, the 94-year-old acclaimed architect Balkrishna V Doshi, was on Tuesday received one of the world’s highest honours for architecture — Royal Gold Medal 2022.
The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Simon Allford presented Doshi the medal in person, a rare instance for the institute. The prestigious medal is approved personally by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth and is given in recognition of a lifetime’s work that had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture.
This makes Doshi only Indian and very few globally to have been awarded both the Royal Gold Medal and the Pritzker Architecture Prize, often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture, in their lifetime. In 2020, Doshi was conferred Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India.
Allford, who had chaired the 2022 Honours Committee of RIBA, stated that Doshi’s lifetime contribution is a legacy of teaching a generous and open architecture and how he connects architecture to life.
The 2022 Honours Committee comprised architects Alison Brooks and last year’s Royal Gold Medal recipient Sir David Adjaye OBE, architect and academic Kate Cheyne, and cultural historian and museum director Dr Gus Casely-Hayford OBE.
“The model of formal education he has created is about encouraging individuals to form their response to life. His model of architecture is a backdrop to the theatre of life,” said Allford after presenting the honour to Doshi.
Doshi has had a career spanning over 70 years during which he has worked with legends like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Among the noticeable works, Doshi has worked with Louis Kahn as an associate to build the iconic building of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A). Later Doshi founded his own practice, Vastushilpa in 1956.
“My connection with architecture is not only as a professional but also as a teacher, as a practitioner and as somebody who is trying to understand how life and building go on. I was interested in social life around buildings and its impact on architectural education,” said Doshi stating that throughout his life and career he was interested in how people live.
Doshi expressed dissatisfaction over the current architecture as he stated that it did not talk about people or residents rather talked about only the facilities. He also stated that the city planning and formation of the present day was not conducive to local environment.
Doshi is also the recipient of the French ‘Global Award for Lifetime Achievement for Sustainable Architecture’ by the Institut Francais d’architecture, Paris.
Born in 1927 in Pune to an extended family of furniture makers, Doshi studied at the JJ School of Architecture, Bombay.