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 realized a wide range of projects, adopting principles of modern architecture and adapting them to local culture, traditions, resources, and nature.
“Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People”
17 October, 2019 – 19 January, 2020
Architekturmuseum der TU München in der Pinakothek der Moderne
Barer Straße 40, Munich
The exhibition will present numerous significant projects realized 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.
The exhibition »Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People« will open Doshi’s work to a global audience and show how the architect’s work has redefined modern Indian architecture as well as shaped new generations of architects. Therefore, the retrospective does not only offer an overview of Doshi’s architectural work, but also reflect on its underlying ideals and social context. Doshi’s humanist philosophy was shaped by his Indian roots as well as his western education and the rapidly changing context of Indian society since the early 1950s.
His architectural vocabulary, which is both poetic and functional, was strongly influenced by what he learned from Le Corbusier, with whom he collaborated on the design of the Indian city of Chandigarh and on other projects, and from his experiences with Louis Kahn, who conceived the design for the Institute of Management. Reaching beyond these early models, Doshi developed an approach that oscillates between industrialism and primitivism, between modern architecture and traditional form. His practice is based on ideas of sustainability and aims to root architecture in a larger context of culture and environment as well as social, ethical, and religious beliefs.
The retrospective follows four main themes, beginning with the focus on home and identity and examining 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).
Aranya was built as a model project and today accommodates over 80,000 individuals. A modular system allows the inhabitants to customise their homes and adapt them to their needs, their personal preferences, and their economic possibilities. The project was predicated on a »sites and services« approach, in which electricity, water, and sewer services were provided, but the houses were built minimally as a service core that each family could extend. An example for Doshi’s residential planning on a smaller scale is his own house, called »Kamala House« (1963). This generous yet economical building with a cross-shaped floor plan maximizes lighting throughout all spaces, while insulated brick walls trap and minimise the summer heat.