Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People at Vitra Design Museum from March 30th

With the exhibition ‘Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People’ (30 March to 8 September 2019), Vitra Design Museum presents the first international retrospective about the 2018 Pritzker Prize laureate Balkrishna Doshi outside of Asia.

Interior view of the staircase and entrance hall: Premabhai Hall, Ahmedabad, 1976 © Iwan Baan 2018

The renowned architect and urban planner is one of the few pioneers of modern architecture in his home country and the first Indian architect to receive the prestigious award. During over 60 years of practice, Doshi has realised a wide range of projects, adopting principles of modern architecture and adapting them to local culture, traditions, resources, and nature. The exhibition will present numerous significant projects from between 1958 and 2014, ranging in scale from entire cities and town planning projects to academic campuses as well as cultural institutions and public administrative offices, from private residences to interiors.

Among these works are pioneering buildings like the Indian Institute of Management (1977–92), Doshi’s architectural studio Sangath (1980), and the famous low-cost housing project Aranya (1989). Exhibits will include a wealth of original works such as drawings, models, and art works from Doshi’s archive and studio, but also photography, film footage and several full-scale installations. An extensive timeline will give an overview of the architect’s career from 1947 until today, attesting to his close relationships with other influential architects and thought leaders such as Le Corbusier and Christopher Alexander.

Exterior view of Doshi’s architectural studio: Sangath Architect’s Studio, Ahmedabad, 1980 © Iwan Baan 2018

The retrospective follows four main themes, beginning with a look at Doshi’s educational buildings

The exhibition’s second section focuses on home and identity and examines the power of architecture to bring about social change. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Doshi developed new approaches to social and experimental housing based on participation and the possibility to adapt to the users’ changing needs and requirements, as seen in such outstanding examples as the Housing Development for the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), known locally as ‘Bima Nagar’, in Ahmedabad (1973) and Aranya Low Cost Housing for the Indore Development Authority (1989).

Interior view of the underground art space: Amdavad Ni Gufa, Ahmedabad, 1994 © Iwan Baan 2018

The third section revolves around the many institutions Doshi has participated in building during the last 60 years. An important example for this is the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore (1977–1992).

The final section of the exhibition is dedicated to Doshi’s large-scale town planning projects, exemplified by the masterplan and urban design guidelines for Vidhyadhar Nagar (1984), a residential development for 150,000 dwellings located in the outskirts of Jaipur in Rajasthan in northern India.

Duration: 30 March to 8 September 2019 Hours: daily 10:00 - 18:00

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