Architecture for the People
Three Questions for Khushnu Panthaki Hoof
Architect and urban planner Balkrishna Doshi is one of the few pioneers of modern architecture in his home country and the first Indian architect to receive the prestigious Pritzker Prize. With the exhibition »Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People«, the Vitra Design Museum presents the first international retrospective on Doshi´s work outside of Asia. Architect Khushnu Panthaki Hoof has worked with Doshi for many years, is a partner at Vastu Shilpa Consultants, and also Doshi‘s granddaughter. She is curator of the exhibition and has answered three questions for the Vitra Magazine.
What is so special about Balkrishna Doshi’s way of working?Doshi’s participatory and open-ended approach to architecture renders a timeless quality to his works – where architecture is not seen as a product but rather as a living, evolving organism with possibilities to grow and adapt. Moreover, the focus in most of his works has been to encourage dialogue and interaction between the inhabitants, to break down social barriers and give people a sense of belonging. This personal search for an appropriate architectural vocabulary in the Indian context, with major emphasis on human behavioural patterns and lifestyles, is unique to his way of working.
How did you approach the whole of his oeuvre?Over the 62 years of his practice, research and teaching, Doshi has created a wide range of projects that demonstrate a significant level of environmental and community awareness, adopting modern architectural principles and adapting them to local Indian traditions, resources and context. Given the fact that Doshi’s oeuvre comprises over 100 projects, I decided to choose examples of varied typologies and scales located in different parts of India. These diverse projects exemplify his experimental approaches to bringing about social change while creating spaces that enhance the quality of life.
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What is your personal favourite fact or project featured in the exhibition?Doshi’s projects do not follow a uniform signature style, but rather exhibit an awareness of an architect’s social responsibilities and the impact of the built environment on people’s lives. Each project, although completely different from the others in regard to its physical manifestation, represents these concerns. So for me, his thought processes, experimental methods and humanistic approach to architecture are very relevant even today. Sangath, Aranya Low Cost Housing, LIC Housing, the School of Architecture, the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, Premabhai Hall and the Institute of Indology are my personal favourites. All these projects demonstrate how architecture can become a backdrop, spur activities and generate dialogues.
The exhibition "Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People" will be on show until 8 September 2019 in the Vitra Design Musum.
Publication Date: 28.06.2019
Images: 1. Balkrishna Doshi, Sangath Architect’s Studio, Ahmedabad, 1980, © Iwan Baan 2018. 2. Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, 1977, 1992, © Iwan Baan 2018. 3. Balkrishna Doshi, Sangath Architect’s Studio, 1980, © Vastushilpa Foundation, Ahmedabad. 4. Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, 1977, 1992, © Vinay Panjwani India. 5. Balkrishna Doshi, School of Architecture, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, 1968, © Vinay Panjwani India. 6. Balkrishna Doshi, Housing for the Life Insurance Corporation of India, Ahmedabad, 1973, © Vastushilpa Foundation, Ahmedabad. 7. Balkrishna Doshi, Premabhai Hall, Ahmedabad, 1976, © Vinay Panjwani India. 8. Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, 1977, 1992, © Iwan Baan 2018. 9. Balkrishna Doshi in collaboration with M.F. Husain, Amdavad Ni Gufa art gallery, Ahmedabad, 1994, © Iwan Baan 2018. 10. Balkrishna Doshi, Housing for the Life Insurance Corporation of India, Ahmedabad, 1973, © Vastushilpa Foundation, Ahmedabad. 11. Balkrishna Doshi, Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, 1962, © Iwan Baan 2018. 12. Khushnu Panthaki Hoof. 13. Balkrishna Doshi at Sangath Architect’s Studio, Ahmedabad, 1980, © Iwan Baan 2018.
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