From September 9 to December 12, 2020, the Chicago gallery Wrightwood 659 will exhibit the work of visionary Indian architect, urbanist, and educator Balkrishna Doshi, who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2018. The show Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People will highlight Doshi’s skillful melding of Modernism with the forms and techniques of his home country.

Doshi at Sangath Architect's Studio in 2018, photo © Iwan Baan

Born in Pune, India, in 1927, Doshi's academic career in architecture began in 1947, the year India gained its independence, at the prestigious Sir J.J. College of Architecture in Mumbai. He apprenticed under Le Corbusier in the early 1950s, founded his own practice in 1956, then received a Graham Foundation fellowship in 1958 and traveled to the U.S., where he met Louis Kahn. They became friends, and Doshi started working with Kahn in 1962 on the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

Doshi expertly merged Modernist ideas with with the context and customs of India—the setting for his entire body of work, which ranges from social housing and academic institutions, to large-scale urban planning projects. “I am a part of this culture, and architecture is a holistic profession,” he told RECORD by phone in 2018. “As an architect, if I’m not able to do something for the people, to provide them with what they need, then I think I’m leaving something undone.”

“The values inherent to Balkrishna Doshi’s work—inclusiveness and a deep respect for the those who live, work, or study in his buildings—are particularly resonant today, when issues of justice and equity are at the forefront of global consciousness,” said Jim McDonough, executive director of Alphawood Foundation Chicago, the exhibition sponsor. 

Admission to Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People is available by advance ticket only. Prior to its stop in Chicago, the exhibition was on view at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany; Architekturmuseum der TU in Munich; and Architekturzentrum in Vienna.

Miniature painting of Sangath Architect's Studio by Doshi, 1980, image © Vastushilpa Foundation