RIBA presents Balkrishna Doshi with the 2022 ROYAL GOLD MEDAL
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has formally presented Balkrishna Doshi with the 2022 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. Approved personally by Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Gold Medal was awarded to the renowned Indian architect in a virtual ceremony hosted by the organization and President Simon Allford. A virtual celebration followed, broadcast live from Doshi’s studio in Ahmedabad, India, and RIBA’s headquarters in London, UK, with a global audience tuned in online. The digital event featured tributes from architects across the globe, including Frank Gehry, Álvaro Siza, and Benedetta Tagliabue, accompanied by a discussion about Doshi’s lifetime achievements and architectural philosophy, as well as a Q&A session with the audience.
Over the past 70 years, Doshi – who was also awarded the 2018 Pritzker prize (read our dedicated interview here) – has completed more than 100 built projects. His work has significantly influenced the advancement of architecture in India and its adjacent regions through both his practice and his teaching. Born in 1927 in Pune, India, Balkrishna Bithaldas (B.V) Doshi graduated from the JJ School of Architecture in Bombay and went on to work with Le Corbusier for four years as senior designer in Paris (1951-54), and four more years in India to supervise projects in Ahmedabad. He then worked with Louis Kahn as an associate to build the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and they continued to collaborate for over a decade. In 1956, Doshi founded his own practice, Vastushilpa, with two architects, which is now a multi-disciplinary practice with ﬁve partners spanning three generations, and sixty employees.balkrishna doshi © pratik gajjar (also header image)
balkrishna doshi’s contribution TO ARCHITECTURE
Awarded since 1848, RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal was presented to Balkrishna Doshi at a special virtual ceremony in 2022.‘I am pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Queen of England,’ said Balkrishna Doshi. ‘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.’
Combining pioneering modernism with vernacular, Doshi’s buildings are informed by a deep appreciation of the traditions of India’s architecture, climate, local culture and craft. Some of his key projects are: Shreyas Comprehensive School Campus (1958-63), Ahmedabad, India; the Institute of Indology (1962), Ahmedabad, a building to house rare documents; Ahmedabad School of Architecture (1966, with additions until 2012), renamed CEPT University in 2002 ; Tagore Hall & Memorial Theater (1967), a 700 seat brutalist auditorium in Ahmedabad; Premabhai Hall (1976), Ahmedabad, India; Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977 – 1992), a business school; Sangath (1981), the studio for his architecture practice, Vastu Shilpa; Aranya low-cost housing (1989), Indore, India, which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995 and Amdavad Ni Gufa (1994), a cave-like art gallery that exhibits the work of artist Maqbool Fida Husain.
tagore hall, ahmedabad, taken in 1967 © vastushilpa foundation
The 2022 Royal Gold Medal selection committee, chaired by architect and RIBA president Simon Allford, comprised of Sir David Adjaye OBE, architect and recipient of the 2021 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture (see more on designboom here); Alison Brooks, principle and creative director of Alison Brooks Architects; Kate Cheyne, architect and head of Leicester School of Art, Design and Architecture at De Montfort University and Dr Gus Casely-Hayford OBE, professor of practice at SOAS (School of Oriental and African studies in London and founding director of V&A east).
‘It was an honour and a pleasure to chair the committee in selecting Balakrishna Doshi as the 2022 royal gold medallist,’ said Simon Allford. ‘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, Balakrishna 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.’
premabhai concert hall, ahmedabad, india © vastushilpa foundation
amdavad ni gufa in ahmedabad exterior, india. photo by vinay panjwani © vastushilpa foundation