At 92 years young, architect Balkrishna Doshi continues to redefine modernism and inspire social change.
The institute was designed by Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi.
Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People is taking shape at Lincoln Park gallery Wrightwood 659. And as the first U.S. showcase of the work of renowned Indian architect, urbanist and educator Balkrishna Doshi, the exhibit holds its own through the display of techniques and lifelong projects created by the legend between 1958 and 2014.
Born in 1927 in Pune, India, Doshi has an impressive 62 years of architectural practice, research and teaching under his belt. The student of pioneering architects Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn in the 1950s, Doshi continues to integrate his knowledge and teachings from these masterminds into his work. “These great men were intuitive and had acquired insight into the continuity of the whole process that manifests life,” he says. “I am indebted to Le Corbusier for setting me on the path to write, sketch, design and paint; and to Louis Kahn for widening my understanding of the more abstract and philosophical aspects of life and working as an architect.”
Balkrishna Doshi’s Ompuri Temple in Matar (1998)
The Wrightwood 659 exhibit reforms the principles of architectural modernism by merging Indian techniques, cultures, traditions and environments. In doing so, Doshi brings forth four central themes to his work: Home and Identity, Creating a Livable City, Shaping an Integrated Education and Building Academic Institutions. “More than architecture, this exhibition talks about lifestyle, climate and celebration as the factors defining architecture,” says curator Khushnu Panthaki Hoof. “The focus in most of [Doshi’s] works has been to encourage dialogue and exchange between the inhabitants, break down social barriers and inspire people with a sense of belonging.” Each section of Balkrishna Doshi, therefore, captures the architect’s approach to initiating social change—whether through films, interactive models, layered walls, landscapes or even full-scale photographs that give the illusion of a space, according to Hoof.
The Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977-1992)
For Doshi, architecture is not static, but rather dynamic. His work remains inspired by the ever- changing aspects of life and his global experiences. “I am constantly fascinated, almost like a child, by the ways in which the world around me works,” he says. “I see an ant, a snake or a giraffe and think about how their form is just the perfect one for their life in their habitat. That, surely, is a very valuable lesson in design.”
Doshi’s “Sangath Architect’s Studio” (1980, miniature painting), Ahmedabad
Throughout his momentous career, Doshi’s talents have been recognized on a global scale. And in 2018, he received the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. “Receiving the Pritzker Prize at 91 is like a crowning glory,” he says. “It reaffirmed my belief that architecture is not static, but a living, thriving organism.” Through Dec. 12, 659 W. Wrightwood Ave.
Photography by: From top: Vinay Panjwani India; Vinay Panjwani India/courtesy of Wrightwood 659; Iwan Baan 2018; Vastushilpa Foundation Ahmedabad