There’s been no budding designer, architect or environmentalist in India, who hasn’t idolized Ar. BV Doshi! At 90 years old, Ar. Doshi has been awarded the highest Architectural honor, equivalent to a Nobel Prize in the field, “The Pritzker Prize, 2018.” Having worked with the likes of Ar. Le Corbusier and Ar. Louis Kahn, his designs and thoughts are a class apart and champion the elements of life and nature to bring people together through built forms.
A career in Architecture spanning 70 years, with distinguished projects such as the Aga Khan Award winning Aranya Housing, Indore, Amdavad ni Gufa, IIM Bangalore, Flames University etc. Doshi has been a major force which moulded the architecture and urban design ideals, we now follow. A master architect and a stern environmentalist, his specialty lies in seeing buildings as a backdrop to life, and bringing together aesthetics, functionality and sustainability in his designs. His work is well known worldwide and he has given us some marvels in architecture in the form of schools, residences, banks, theaters and institutional buildings.
Communal spaces and low cost living spaces for Indian masses, was one of the causes Ar. Doshi strongly supported. His work thus revolves around passive cooling techniques, simple concepts which reflect Indian ethos combined with a modern approach which strives for timelessness. Not only as a practitioner, but even as a teacher, Ar. Doshi has influenced many young minds. In the 1960s, Ar. Doshi started the acclaimed CEPT University in Ahmedabad with Louis Kahn as a faculty member. His work in Ahmedabad such as his own office Sangath, Amdavad ni Gufa, Kamala House attracts scores of architecture students and connoisseurs to the city.
Let’s gape at some of his most celebrated works, and marvel at the Pritzker Prize winner’s ingenuity.
1. IIM, BANGALORE
The Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, is a distinguished work of art, to say the least. A campus which showcases nature and it’s many colors, not as a part of the feature, but as the hero, and creates inviting scenarios at regular intervals, IIMB is truly Doshi’s remarkable endevour to give management students something to rejoice.
In Ar. Doshi’s words, “A campus should be meandering and connecting.” Using exposed concrete to fashion lattices and pergolas, the campus is a lesson in using light and shadow as a dominant feature in structures rather than something that accidently happens. Completed in 1983, IIMB has both indoor and outdoor classrooms, with a purpose to eleviate human interaction and student life.
2. CEPT, AHMEDABAD
Challenging themselves to create a space of learning rather than teaching, Cept University was envisioned as a place without walls and a place without boundaries. Bricks add drama and life to the structure whereas the outdoor areas are treated as living organisms which spark various conversations with each other.
In the end a campus for Architecture and design students has to speak to everyone’s design philosophies and wholly combine characteristics which everyone can relate to in order to establish a healthy learning environ. CEPT University does just that, with its contemporary straight lines, symmetry in form, and using bricks to reinforce the traditional ethos Indian Architecture carries.
3. SANGATH, AHMEDABAD
An Architect’s own office is like his signature, a reflection of his work and the design philosophies he preaches. A series of sunken vaults clad in China Mosaic creates dramatic unfolding of spaces with surprise elements at every turn, causing the onlooker to appreciate every tiny detail. The interaction of a structure with a human is emphasized due to this shifting axis, so that the person is fully engaged in the building, both visually and mentally.
Not only has Ar. Doshi compelled the spectator to praise the appearance and aesthetic of his office, but also made sure he appreciates the environment and micro climate it creates.The office, situated in Ahmedabad is climate responsive and combines methods of passive energy systems, insulated walls, glare control, convective ventilation using double height volumes, rainwater harvesting and reusing rechniques and ample landscape to keep it cool during the Gujarat summers and minimize carbon footprints.
Ar. BV Doshi’s earlier work had traces of his mentors Ar. Le Corbusier and Ar. Louis Kahn’s style and character, however he found his own mould with projects such as Hussain Doshi Gufa, better known as Amdavad ni Gufa. The spatial experiences one encounters when entering this gallery, are unparalleled. Built using ferro cement shells, this gallery combines buried spaces, earth mounds, raised uneven volumes and china mosaic finish to arrive at a design solution which is not only beautiful but also perfect in the hot dry climate of Gujrat.
Many such projects like the Arjun Machan, Flame University, Kamala House, LIC Housing, Tagore Memorial Hall, Institute of Indology etc. are Ar. Doshi’s contribution to India’s skyline. Not many know that Ar. Doshi was involved in designing Chandigarh City with Le Corbusier where he was responsible for designing low cost quarters for government servants and employees, which raised his interest in low cost housing schemes for the poor. It is indeed a proud moment for every Indian, and members of the design community that our design hero has been awarded the Pritzker Prize. We congratulate him and Vastu Shilpa for this greatest achievement and for all that he’s done to model Indian Architecture! We Sir, are forever in your debt!