Ahmedabad based Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi, popularly known as B.V. Doshi or Doshi, has been selected as the 2018 Pritzker Prize Laureate.
Considered the highest architectural accolade, the annual Pritzker award honours ‘a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture’ and consists of a prize of $100,000 (US) and a bronze medallion.
Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation that sponsors the award made the announcement in Chicago. The award ceremony will take place at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto this May.
Announcing the decision of the jury, Mr Pritzker said, “The work of Balkrishna Doshi truly underscores the mission of the Prize — demonstrating the art of architecture and an invaluable service to humanity.”
“I am honoured to present the award to an architect who has contributed more than 60 years of service to us all,” he added.
Doshi’s poetic architecture draws upon Eastern influences to create a body of work that “has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s,” cites the jury.
A practitioner of architecture for over 70 years, Doshi is the first Indian architect to receive architecture’s highest honour, and has studied and worked with both Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn.
Speaking in 1954, Doshi stated ‘It seems I should take an oath and remember it for my lifetime: to provide the lowest class with the proper dwelling’. This working ethic was achieved over the decades, in projects such as the Life Insurance Corporation Housing in 1973 and the Co-Operative Middle Income Housing in Ahmedabad in 1982.
Among his many celebrated designs are the IIM-Bangalore; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad; cultural spaces in Ahmedabad such as Tagore Memorial Hall, the Institute of Indology, and Premabhai Hall; and private residence Kamala House (Ahmedabad).
Among his other most notable works are Aranya Low-Cost Housing in Indore, which accommodates over 80,000 people; the Jnana-Pravaha Centre for Cultural Studies in Varanasi; the Sawai Gandharva performing arts centre in Pune; the Tagore Hall on the banks of the Sabarmati in Ahmedabad and Amdavad Ni Gufa, a cave-like underground art gallery.
Born in Pune, India in 1927, Doshi began his studies in architecture in the year of his country’s independence, 1947. After a period in London, he moved to France to work under Le Corbusier, and from there he returned to India in order to oversee work on Le Corbusier’s plans for Chandigarh, and on Le Corbusier’s projects in Ahmedabad such as the Mill Owner’s Association Building (1954) and Shodhan House (1956). Doshi also later worked with Louis Kahn on the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, beginning in 1962.
“My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create a treasury of the architectural spirit. I owe this prestigious prize to my guru, Le Corbusier. His teachings led me to question identity and compelled me to discover new regionally adopted contemporary expression for a sustainable holistic habitat,” Mr Doshi said.
Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi has continually exhibited the objectives of the Pritzker Architecture Prize to the highest degree. He has been practicing the art of architecture, demonstrating substantial contributions to humanity, for over 60 years. By granting him the award this year, the Pritzker Prize jury recognizes his exceptional architecture as reflected in over a hundred buildings he has realized, his commitment and his dedication to his country and the communities he has served, his influence as a teacher, and the outstanding example he has set for professionals and students around the world throughout his long career.
Doshi, as he is fondly called by all who know him, worked with two masters of the 20th century— Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Without a doubt, Doshi’s early works were influenced by these architects as can be seen in the robust forms of concrete which he employed. However, Doshi took the language of his buildings beyond these early models. With an understanding and appreciation of the deep traditions of India’s architecture, he united prefabrication and local craft and developed a vocabulary in harmony with the history, culture, local traditions and the changing times of his home country India.
Over the years, Balkrishna Doshi has always created an architecture that is serious, never flashy or a follower of trends. With a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to his country and its people through high quality, authentic architecture, he has created projects for public administrations and utilities, educational and cultural institutions, and residences for private clients, among others.
He undertook his first project for low-income housing in the 1950s. Doshi stated in 1954, “It seems I should take an oath and remember it for my lifetime: to provide the lowest class with the proper dwelling.” He fulfilled this personal oath in projects such as Aranya Low-cost Housing at Indore, 1989, in central-west India and the Co-Operative Middle Income Housing, Ahmedabad, India of 1982, and many others. Housing as shelter is but one aspect of these projects. The entire planning of the community, the scale, the creation of public, semi-public and private spaces are a testament to his understanding of how cities work and the importance of the urban design.
Doshi is acutely aware of the context in which his buildings are located. His solutions take into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions, and therefore his architecture is totally engaged with sustainability. Using patios, courtyards, and covered walkways, as in the case of the School of Architecture (1966, now part of CEPT) or the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board in Jabalpur (1979) or the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1992), Doshi has created spaces to protect from the sun, catch the breezes and provide comfort and enjoyment in and around the buildings.
In the architect’s own studio, called Sangath (Ahmedabad, India, 1980), we can see the outstanding qualities of Balkrishna Doshi’s approach and understanding of architecture. The Sanskrit word Sangath means to accompany or to move together. As an adjective, it embodies that which is appropriate or relevant. The structures are semi-underground and totally integrated with the natural characteristics of the site. There is an easy flow of terraces, reflecting ponds, mounds, and the curved vaults which are distinguishing formal elements. There is variety and richness in the interior spaces that have different qualities of light, different shapes as well as different uses, while unified through the use of concrete. Doshi has created an equilibrium and peace among all the components—material and immaterial—which result in a whole that is much more than the sum of the parts.
Balkrishna Doshi constantly demonstrates that all good architecture and urban planning must not only unite purpose and structure but must take into account climate, site, technique, and craft, along with a deep understanding and appreciation of the context in the broadest sense Projects must go beyond the functional to connect with the human spirit through poetic and philosophical underpinnings For his numerous contributions as an architect, urban planner, teacher, for his steadfast example of integrity and his tireless contributions to India and beyond, the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury selects Balkrishna Doshi as the 2018 Pritzker Laureate.
India’s NCAA Becomes the World’s First Trusted Digital Repository
IGNCA has been certified as the world’s first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard, granted by PTAB, United Kingdom.
National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA) project of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, implemented by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) has been certified as the world’s first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard, granted by Primary Trustworthy Digital Repository Authorisation Body Ltd. (PTAB), United Kingdom.
Leveraging this historic achievement, the plan for the next phase is to integrate about three lakh hours of audiovisuals materials, a corpus estimated based on a scoping survey conducted in 25 cities across the country, on this platform over the next five years.
The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Mahesh Sharma said, “I congratulate IGNCA for this remarkable achievement. The Digital India initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, launched on 1 July 2015, aimed at connecting rural India with high-speed internet networks and improving digital literacy. This will boost the accessibility of the NCAA up to the remotest corner of the country and help preserve India’s rich culture throughout its length and breadth.”
The primary objective of the NCAA is to identify and preserve the cultural heritage of India available in audiovisual form through a process of digitization and making it accessible to the people.
By March 2018, a corpus of 30,000 hours of unpublished, non-commercial audio & video recordings will be made online at http://ncaa.gov.in/repository, out of which approximately 15,000 hours are already hosted online along with contextual metadata, representing the cultural diversity of India in the broadest sense.
Over 23,000 hours of unpublished audiovisual recordings have already been digitized. NCAA pilot digital repository was developed in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Digital Preservation by C-DAC, Pune. NCAA digital repository is established with and powered by DIGITĀLAYA (डिजिटालय) which is developed by C-DAC Pune in compliance with Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model ISO 14721:2012.
At present, NCAA has a total of twenty-one (21) Partnering Institutions from across the country, covering 11 governmental and 10 non-governmental cultural organisations. The digitization and metadata standards followed by the Project are in parity with international standards within the overall framework of the OAIS model.
The digitization standards are in concordance with those prescribed by the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives (IASA) and the metadata schema is extended Dublin Core, followed by galleries, libraries, archives and museums worldwide
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts has been set up by the Government of India, as a premier research institute dedicated to holistic understanding and expression of Indian arts in their inter and multi-disciplinary nature. One of the principal aims of the centre is to serve as a major national resource centre for the arts.
The IGNCA has been designated by the Government of India as the nodal agency for a data bank on art, humanities and cultural heritage. The Centre has also been identified by UNESCO as the nodal agency for the development of regional databases for South and South East Asian countries on art, cultural heritage and lifestyles through the application of state-of-the-art technologies for standardization, exchange and dissemination of data.
Karnataka’s Cong Government Seeks Separate Religion Status for Lingayats
Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion and seek approval from the Centre for the same.
Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion (from Hinduism) and seek approval from the Centre for the same. The decision was taken after a cabinet meeting and consultation with Lingayat seers.
The Cabinet took the decision to accept recommendations of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee, which had asked the state to accord a separate religion tag to the Lingayats.
If recognised as a minority religion, the Lingayats will be able to avail of benefits under Section 25, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
What makes the timing of the move particularly suspicious is that Karnataka is just about two months away from elections and Lingayats, who currently form 17% of Karnataka’s population, is a major vote bank for political parties.
In the recent decades, the Lingayats have emerged as strong supporters of the BJP. Experts suggest that if a separate religious status is granted to the community, the BJP will have a tough time explaining its ideological stance based on Hindu solidarity. Former Chief Minister and current CM candidate of the BJP, BS Yeddyurappa, is also from the Lingayat community.
The Congress, predictably, hopes to gain much from the desired branching.
The agitation is not a new one – and has forever revolved around a single core question viz., who are the Lingayats and what precisely is their religious identity?
Who are the Lingayats:
The tradition of Lingayatism is known to have been founded by social reformer and philosopher Basavanna in 12th century Karnataka. While there exists a debate around whether Basavanna founded the sect or if he merely reformed an existing order, there can be no doubt that under him the community acquired the form of a well-organised, structured mass movement. Followers of the sect continue to revere him as the founder and prime philosopher of their religion.
Basava grew up in a Brahmin family with a tradition of Shaivism. As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.
Basavanna’s vision of a societal order was one based on human freedom, equality, rationality, and brotherhood. He and his followers spread their ideas through vachanas (prose-lyrics) and their prime target was the caste hierarchy which they rejected with full force. In one of his vachanas, Basavanna asserts that “the birthless has no caste distinctions, no ritual pollution.”
Lingayat sect first emerged within the larger trend of Bhakti movements that had swept across South India from the 8th century AD onwards.
The Bhakti tradition was a social reform movement that took birth within Hinduism but strove to rectify what the followers saw as the unjust practices within the tradition.
But, historians like K Ishrawaran say that while the conventional Bhakti movements remained adjacent to the Hindu system, Lingayatism challenged the system in its most basic form and became a highly structured movement.
Other historians say that the most striking feature of this institutionalisation was that unlike other Bhakti movements, Lingayat status was hereditary in nature!
The desired differences aside, however, the one aspect that indicates the association of Lingayatism with Hinduism is the former’s relationship with Veerashaivism.
Veerashaivism is also a Shaiva sect within Hinduism and is predominantly located in Karnataka. It’s supporters claim that Basavanna was not the founder of the Lingayat tradition, but rather a reformer of an already existing religious tradition called Veerashaivism.
The Veerashaivas accept the Vedic texts and almost all Hindu practices.
Moreover, despite insisting upon the contrary, Lingayatism, quite like Jainism, does assimilate many aspects of Hinduism that are influenced by or drawn from the Upanishads and the Vedic traditions.
The close associations that the Lingayat followers share with Hinduism, both sociologically and historically, thus make it a complicated case of to be or not be Hindu.
Cute Bengaluru Sisters Wish ‘Happy Ugadi’ (Kannada)
ಹ್ಯಾಪಿ ಉಗಾದಿ – Cute Bengaluru sisters TANMAYEE and HRITIKA RAO wish everyone a Very Happy UGADI. 🙂
ಹ್ಯಾಪಿ ಉಗಾದಿ – Cute Bengaluru sisters TANMAYEE and HRITIKA RAO wish everyone a Very Happy UGADI. 🙂
League of India prays that Ugadi ushers in prosperity and new beginnings. Wishing you lots of love on this happy occasion!
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