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Ar. B. V. Doshi presented with RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal 2022!

Posted by
TFOD Correspondent
on May 11, 2022 at 01:31 AM

Acclaimed Indian architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi wins the Royal Gold Medal 2022, one of the world’s highest honours for architecture. Awarded in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture. This highly prestigious honour adds yet another feather in the veteran architect’s resplendent cap! We at TFOD The Future Of Design join the Indian architectural fraternity in congratulating the maestro.

The award announced in 2021 was personally presented by RIBA President Simon Allford to Ar. Balkrishna Doshi at his home in Ahmedabad yesterday.

© Courtesy of internet resources

After bagging the very prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2018, Ar. B. V. Doshi now makes India proud by getting the Royal Gold Medal 2022 – and becomes the first Indian architect, and the ninth in the world to bag both honors! In doing so, Doshi joins the list of highly illustrious architects including I. M. Pei, Kenzo Tange, Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, and Norman Foster.

The RIBA – Royal Institute of British Architects is a global professional membership body that recognizes and honours excellence in architecture. Serving members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment, the values that RIBA upholds include being inclusive, ethical, environmentally aware and collaborative.

The Royal Gold Medal is given in recognition of a lifetime's work, to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture. And what an influence Doshi has been! Over 70 years of practice, and more than 100 built works spread across the country, the architect has positively impacted multiple lives, inspiring and moulding several thousand creative young minds.

"It was an honour and a pleasure to chair the committee in selecting Balkrishna Doshi as the 2022 Royal Gold Medallist. At ninety-four years old he has influenced generations of architects through his delightfully purposeful architecture. Influenced by his time spent in the office of Le Corbusier his work nevertheless is that of an original and independent thinker – able to undo, redo and evolve. In the twentieth century, when technology facilitated many architects to build independently of local climate and tradition, Balkrishna remained closely connected with his hinterland: its climate, technologies new and old and crafts. 

Balkrishna Doshi’s outstanding contribution to the art of architecture, the craft of construction and the practice of urban design establish him as a most deserving recipient of this award and I greatly look forward to him being presented with the medal next year,” noted RIBA President Simon Allford about conferring the Royal Gold Medal for 2022 to Doshi. 

The 2022 Honours Committee which selected Doshi as the Royal Gold Medallist for 2022 was chaired by RIBA President Simon Allford and included architects Alison Brooks and last year’s winner Sir David Adjaye, architect and academic Kate Cheyne and cultural historian and museum director Dr Gus Casely-Hayford.

Born in 1927 in Pune, India, Doshi moved to Bombay (as Mumbai was then known) to study architecture at the J. J. School of Architecture. He later trained under Le Corbusier as Senior Designer (1951-54) in Paris and continued working with him for another four years supervising Corbusier’s projects in India. These brought him to Ahmedabad – the city that has since become his home. The iconic Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was the highlight of his decade-long collaboration with Louis Kahn.  In 1956, he established Vastushilpa Foundation, and started his independent practice.

Doshi’s architectural style blends the vernacular idiom effortlessly into a modernist palette; through a deep understanding of local factors such as climate, culture and craft. His work spans across diverse typology, including urban planning, institutional projects, mass housing and single residences. 

“I am pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Queen of England. What a great honour! 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. I vividly recollect his excitement to receive this honour 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 - honouring 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,” said Doshi, on receiving the award.

In 2020, Doshi was also awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India, for his contribution to the field of architecture. He has also been awarded three Honorary Doctorates from prestigious international universities including latest from the Boston Architectural College, USA. The Institut Francais d’architecture, Paris has honoured him with the French ‘Global Award for Lifetime Achievement for Sustainable Architecture'. 

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