Balkrishna Doshi Wins Royal Gold Medal
Acclaimed Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi has been named the 2022 recipient of the Royal Gold Medal, an award given by the Royal Institute of British Architects and approved by Her Majesty The Queen.
The award “is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence ‘either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture.’”
“I am pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Queen of England. What a great honor! The news of this award brought back memories of my time working with Le Corbusier in 1953 when he had just received the news of getting the Royal Gold Medal,” said Doshi.
“I vividly recollect his excitement to receive this honor from Her Majesty. He said to me metaphorically, ‘I wonder how big and heavy this medal will be.’ Today, six decades later I feel truly overwhelmed to be bestowed with the same award as my guru, Le Corbusier - honoring my six decades of practice. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my wife, my daughters and most importantly my team and collaborators at Sangath my studio.”
The Royal Gold Medalist was selected by the 2022 Honors Committee. The committee was chaired by RIBA President Simon Allford and comprised of architect Alison Brooks, 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.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to chair the committee in selecting Balkrishna Doshi as the 2022 Royal Gold Medalist. At ninety-four years old he has influenced generations of architects through his delightfully purposeful architecture,” said Allford.
???BREAKING NEWS: Acclaimed Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi?to?receive the 2022?#RoyalGoldMedal, the UK’s highest honours for architecture, approved personally by Her Majesty?The?Queen.? Read more: https://t.co/ji4TKGRY35 pic.twitter.com/K6Sfd5VRQB— RIBA (@RIBA) December 9, 2021
The architect will be presented with the distinction within a special ceremony in 2022.
Over the course of his 70-year career, Doshi, who is now 94-years-old, has completed over 100 built projects and has been a notable influencer of Indian architecture and areas surrounding the region. According to RIBA, Doshi’s building designs combine pioneering modernism with vernacular, informed by a deep appreciation of the traditions of India’s architecture, climate, local culture and craft.
Throughout his career, Doshi worked on a variety of structures, including administrative and cultural facilities, housing developments and residential buildings.
As a student, he studied at the J.J. School of Architecture, Bombay, before working for four years with Le Corbusier as Senior Designer (1951-54) in Paris and four more years in India to supervise projects in Ahmedabad.
In 1956, Doshi founded his own practice with two other architects after working with Louis Kahn as an associate to build the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. The practice today, known as Vastushilpa, serves as a multi-disciplinary practice with five partners spanning three generations.
The practice is known for the Shreyas Comprehensive School Campus (1958-63) in Ahmedabad, India. However, other notable projects include: Atira Guest House (1958), Ahmedabad, India; The Institute of Indology (1962), Ahmedabad, India; Ahmedabad School of Architecture (1966, with additions until 2012) - renamed CEPT University in 2002; Tagore Hall & Memorial Theatre (1967), Ahmedabad, India; Premabhai Hall (1976), Ahmedabad, India; Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977 – 1992); Sangath (1981), the studio for his architecture practice, Vastu Shilpa; Kanoria Centre for Arts (1984); Aranya Low Cost Housing (1989), Indore, India; and Amdavad ni Gufa (1994).
Some years ago, Doshi was selected as the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. The announcement was made by Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award.
At the time, Doshi was reported to be the Indian architect to receive the high honor, which was also noted to be a great honor for the country.
Much of his work explores human needs, as seen in arguably his most prominent project, the Aranya Low Cost Housing project, which currently accommodates more than 80,000 individuals through a system of houses, courtyards and internal pathways.
The 2018 Jury Citation for the prize noted in part that Doshi has “always created an architecture that is serious, never flashy or a follower of trends. With a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to his country and its people through high quality, authentic architecture, he has created projects for public administrations and utilities, educational and cultural institutions, and residences for private clients, among others.”
On the award, Doshi said, “My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create [a] treasury of the architectural spirit. I owe this prestigious prize to my guru, Le Corbusier. His teachings led me to question identity and compelled me to discover new regionally adopted contemporary expression for a sustainable holistic habitat.”