Today, on 24th Jan,’2023, the world mourns the death of an amazing Architect. As architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi breathed his last at Kamala House, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, while being surrounded by his loved ones. 

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet1
Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi_©Photograph by Hugo Aymar / Haytham-REA

Students and professionals from India and abroad have lost a guiding light. Sir B. V Doshi has not only left a mark on this earth as an architect, planner and educator but also taught the next generations of professionals the value of humbleness in a professional field like architecture and design. 

Doshi was an Indian architect, educator, and scholar. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from M.S. University in 1949, followed by a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan in 1954. He was the first Indian student to attend the University of Michigan’s School of Architecture. After returning to India in 1960, Doshi joined the faculty of the newly established School of Architecture and Planning at the Tata Institute of Social Science in Mumbai. He served as the head of the department from 1974 to 1979, and helped develop the first academic program for architecture in India. Doshi is a key figure in the development of Indian architecture and has had a major influence on the development of modern Indian architecture. He is known for his works in low-cost housing projects and is also credited for establishing architecture firms in India. Doshi has received numerous awards, including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, for his outstanding contributions to the field of architecture and urban planning.

Doshi is always renowned for his collaboration with the legendary architect Le Corbusier in India. His works span a wide range of scales and typologies, including cultural and educational institutions, social housing projects, private courtyards, terrace and luxury apartments, and corporate offices. Doshi is the founder of the School of Architecture in Ahmedabad, the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, and the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation.

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet2
Sangath Studio, Vastu Shilpa Foundation_©https://arquitecturaviva.com/works/sangath-studio-vastu-shilpa-foundation

B.V. Doshi was widely renowned as one of India’s most influential architects and urban planners. He is an award-winning architect whose lifelong achievements include designing India’s first public space— the textile mills campus of the Ahmedabad Textile Mill. He has worked on designing public buildings and institutions, such as the National Institute of Management Studies and Child Development Centre in Ahmedabad. He was responsible for restoring and redeveloping the architectural heritage of Ahmedabad. Doshi has also designed several private and corporate projects in Ahmedabad as well as internationally, including India’s first planned city, Paldi in Gujarat. In addition, he was instrumental in rediscovering and reviving traditional courtyards and neighbourhoods in old cities and towns. He is also known for his advocacy for affordable housing and his concern for the environment, looking out for the welfare of the rural poor. He was among the 15 recipients of the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2018. He has received numerous other awards, including a Padma Shri in 1976, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001, and the Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Gold Medal in 2020

He is credited with pioneering regional modernism in India and also with blending traditional Indian architectural styles with modernism. He has designed numerous iconic buildings, including the Herwitz Guest House, the IIM-Ahmedabad campus, the Tagore Memorial Hall in Ahmedabad, the Sangath building in Ahmedabad, the multimedia facility at Kanoria Centre for Arts and many more. He has been awarded several honours, including the Padma Shri, the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal, and the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He has also been awarded the Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects, becoming the first Indian to receive this prestigious award. He will always inspire many young architects and architecture students, and his works are celebrated and admired for their thoughtful design and cutting-edge approach.

V. Doshi is an Indian architect and professor known for his significant contributions to the evolution of architectural discourse in India. Some of his most notable projects include:

IIM-Ahmedabad, Gujarat (1962)

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet3
IIM Ahmedabad_©https://www.archdaily.com/83697/ad-classics-indian-institute-of-management-louis-kahn

IIM Ahmedabad is the first Indian Institute of Management (IIM) established in 1962 with the support of the Government of India. Located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the institute was set up as part of the national policy of establishing centres of excellence in management education in the country. Over the years, IIM Ahmedabad has emerged as one of the premier management education institutes in India and the world. It offers several postgraduate and doctoral management programs, executive education, and management development programs. 

B.V. Doshi collaborated with Le Corbusier to create a unique educational campus plan which has since become an iconic icon in Indian architecture. B.V. Doshi’s work at IIM Ahmedabad has been much appreciated for its aesthetic value and its role in inspiring similar educational institutions throughout India.

National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi (1986)

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet4
National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi_©https://www.getmyuni.com/college/national-institute-of-fashion-technology-nift-delhi

NIFT Delhi was established in 1986 as a model institute in the field of fashion education to promote and enhance leadership in fashion design, technology and management. Its main purpose is to nurture and conserve India’s great heritage in textiles and apparel, and to nourish budding talent in the fields of fashion, apparel and home furnishing. NIFT Delhi has gone from strength to strength over the years, and today it is the leading college in the country for fashion education. The college has been consistently ranked as the best institute in India in the field of fashion technology. It is also recognized as a Centre of Excellence by the Ministry of Textiles and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The institute has been awarded the status of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ by the Ministry of Textiles and the Department of Science & Technology for its research and excellence in the field of fashion.

Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai (1974)

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet5
Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai_©https://the.akdn/en/how-we-work/our-agencies/aga-khan-trust-culture/akaa/aranya-community-housing

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, located in Mumbai, was designed by the Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi in 1974. The campus, spread over 54 acres, is designed to be self‐sufficient with an emphasis on healthy living and organic food production. The twelve buildings that comprise the TISS campus take a range of traditional Indian architectural forms and styles and incorporate them with modern architecture. Traditional elements such as courtyards, open terraces, and chhatris (roof canopies) have been incorporated into the buildings. The walls of the academic blocks feature hand carved intricate designs, which are almost reminiscent of sculpted stone.

The Institute is well known for its social and environmental awareness, reflected in the choice of materials used in the buildings. Extensive use of clay, pottery, and terracotta can be seen as a part of the overall design intent. Furthermore, the buildings come with solar panels and rainwater harvesting facilities, maximising their energy efficiency. The aim is for the campus to become a ‘net-zero’ energy building complex in the near future. 

Overall, the design of the TISS campus effectively blends traditional Indian architecture with modern architecture and sustainability.

UTI Building, Mumbai (1995)

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet6
UTI Building, Mumbai (1995)_©https://twitter.com/cnbctv18live/status/1016302197145890818

This building was designed by the Indian architect B V Doshi. It is located in the city of Mumbai and was built in 1995. The building is eight stories tall and is made up of two concrete structures connected via a sky-bridge on the top floor. The building houses a cafeteria, a conference room, an auditorium, and several teaching and research laboratories. The most striking feature of the building is its curved facade which is composed of travertine marble panels imported from Turkey. The design is modernist in style, featuring simple geometric volumes, clean lines, and a basic, functional aesthetic. The result is an elegant, contemporary design that fits well into the urban landscape of Mumbai.

Kanchanjunga Towers, Mumbai (1982)

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet7
The pattern of openings in Kanchanjunga ©www.archdaily

Kanchanjunga Towers is an iconic high-rise residential building located in Worli, Mumbai, India. Designed by renowned Indian architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi and completed in 1982, it rises up to 75 stories, making it one of the tallest buildings in India. The building was awarded the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007. The facade of the building is made of exposed concrete and it is characterized by curved corners and the use of the “balcony form” throughout to add interest and depth. The building also features a central atrium that provides natural ventilation and lighting for all the apartments. Its residents enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city as well as access to an onsite swimming pool, gym, and terrace gardens.

The Institute of Indology (1956) 

Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi dies at the age of 95 - Sheet8
The Institute of Indology_©https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/institute-of-indology_o

The Institute of Indology is a research and educational organization located in Ahmedabad, India. It was created by B.V Doshi, a renowned Indian architect, who donated part of his personal collection of Indian art, books and artifacts to establish the Institute in 1985. The Institute is devoted to the study of Indian culture, history, art and religions and provides research and educational opportunities to scholars and students. It is recognized by the Indian government and is one of the most important research institutions in India devoted to the study of Indology. Its current director is Professor H. Goel. The Institute has various permanent collections, including archeology, painting, manuscripts, printing blocks and rare books. It also has a library with a collection of over 60,000 books, journals and newspapers in English, Hindi and other Indian languages. The Institute regularly holds lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences on various aspects of Indian culture and heritage. It also promotes exchange programs through which foreign researchers are invited to study and interact with Indian scholars.

Aranya Low-cost Housing (1973)

Aranya Low-cost Housing_©https://the.akdn/en/how-we-work/our-agencies/aga-khan-trust-culture/akaa/aranya-community-housing

The project was commissioned by the government to create affordable housing for the lower income groups. It involved the construction of a 4,000 unit housing project on a 20-hectare site on the outskirts of the city. The project has a higher density than a typical urban development, but retains human and environmental quality by paying attention to elements like layout, vegetation and corridors, that connect the housing and create a sense of community.

The project combines elements of traditional Indian architecture, like an irregular, curved plan and vaulted roofs, with modern elements like the use of materials like concrete and brick, and the requirement for comfortable, properly ventilated units. A variety of flat and terraced units are included in the design, to provide a flexible choice of living space.

The project has been internationally recognised for its ingenuity, and has won several awards, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage.

His legacy of the buildings and concepts will continue to inspire the world, but for now he rests in peace. 

To all the young generation of architects and designers, keep on working, exploring and enjoying the work playgrounds but remember- 

Learn to take abuses as well as you would take flattering words. This way you will be at peace.- B.V.Doshi

Author

Samanata Kumar, is a young interior designer, driven by keen interest for Architectural heritage and culture. Her curiosity includes parameters of architecture and design, photography, travelling, writing, roller skating and air rifle shooting for leisure. Her latest focus includes gaining knowledge in development of housing typologies around the world, space psychology and conspiracies in architecture.

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