Balkrishna Doshi has just been announced as the recipient of the prestigious 2022 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. The coveted gong has been awarded to the established and widely acclaimed Indian architect through the RIBA and by personal approval by Her Majesty The Queen – it is the UK’s highest architectural honour, announced annually and celebrated around the world by the architecture and design field. Balkrishna Doshi, who also won the 2018 Pritzker Prize and was interviewed in his Ahmedabad home by Wallpaper* in 2009, is one of the world’s most respected architects in his field.

‘I am pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Queen,’ says Doshi. ‘What a great honour! The news of this award brought back memories of my time working with Le Corbusier in 1953, when he had just received the news of getting the Royal Gold Medal. I vividly recollect his excitement to receive this honour from Her Majesty. He said to me metaphorically, “I wonder how big and heavy this medal will be.”  Today, six decades later I feel truly overwhelmed to be bestowed with the same award as my guru, Le Corbusier – honouring my six decades of practice. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my wife, my daughters and most importantly my team and collaborators at Sangath, my studio.’

Balkrishna Doshi to receive 2022 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture
Balkrishna Doshi. Photography: Pratik Gajjar

The Royal Gold Medal for Architecture is given to an architect or studio once a year, in recognition of lifetime achievement, and an overall body of work. Doshi has been prolific, with works that span decades and mix global and local traditions. Examples include Shreyas Comprehensive School Campus (1958 – 63), Ahmedabad, India; Atira Guest House (1958), Ahmedabad, low cost housing; the Institute of Indology (1962), Ahmedabad, a building to house rare documents; Ahmedabad School of Architecture (1966, with additions until 2012 and renamed CEPT University in 2002), which focused on creating spaces that promote collaborative learning; Tagore Hall & Memorial Theatre (1967), a 700-seat brutalist auditorium in Ahmedabad; Premabhai Hall (1976), Ahmedabad, India, a theatre and auditorium; Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (1977 – 1992), a business school; Sangath (1981), the studio for his architecture practice, Vastu Shilpa. 

‘It was an honour and a pleasure to chair the committee in selecting Balkrishna Doshi as the 2022 Royal Gold Medallist. At 94 years old, he has influenced generations of architects through his delightfully purposeful architecture. Influenced by his time spent in the office of Le Corbusier, his work nevertheless is that of an original and independent thinker – able to undo, redo and evolve. In the 20th century, when technology facilitated many architects to build independently of local climate and tradition, Balkrishna remained closely connected with his hinterland: it’s climate, technologies new and old and crafts,’ said RIBA president Simon Allford. ‘Balkrishna Doshi’s outstanding contribution to the art of architecture, the craft of construction and the practice of urban design establish him as a most deserving recipient of this award and I greatly look forward to him being presented with the medal next year.’ §