NEW DELHI: Architect and educator Balkrishna Doshi, best-known for his innovative work designing low-cost housing, has been awarded the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the first Indian to win architecture’s highest honour in its 40-year history.
The award was announced Wednesday by Tom Pritzker of the Chicago-based Hyatt Foundation. Doshi has been an architect, urban planner, and educator for 70 years. The foundation called the 90-year-old’s work “poetic and functional,’’ and noted his ability to create works that both respect eastern culture and enhance quality of life in India.
Among Doshi’s achievements: the Aranya low-cost housing project in Indore, which accommodates over 80,000 people, many of them poor, through a system of houses, courtyards and internal pathways.
Reached at home in the western city of Ahmedabad, Doshi called the prize an honour both for himself and for India.
“What I have done for close to the last 60 years, working in rural areas, working in low-cost housing, worrying about India’s future. Now all this comes together and gives me a chance to say ‘’Here we are!” he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations. “This honour is a fitting recognition of his outstanding work, which has spanned decades and made a notable contribution to society,’’ He said.
Doshi was influenced early by two of the great 20th-century architects, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn.
Doshi’s work ranges from the blocky, concrete Life Insurance Corporation Housing buildings in Ahmedabad to the naturalist curves of that city’s Amdavad ni Gufa underground art gallery.Doshi will be formally awarded the prize in a May ceremony at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.