In early March the prestigious Pritzker Prize was awarded, a recognition that since 1979 has celebrated the career and work of living architects who have made a substantial contribution to humanity and environmental development.
The 2018 Priztker Prize saw the triumph of the Indian architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, who over the course of his long career has designed hundreds of buildings, making the traditional and artisanal methods of his country dialogue with the techniques of prefabrication.
As innovators, always looking for new solutions that can improve people's lives and their well-being, we could not help but be interested in such an important event in the world of architecture. What exactly is this authoritative prize and who is Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, the 2018 Pritzker Laureate?
Pritzker Prize: origins and objectives of the "Nobel Prize" of architecture
Founded in 1979 by the American philanthropist Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation, the Pritzker Prize is one of the world's most important architectural awards, similar to a Nobel Prize. The prestigious award, now in its 40th edition, seeks "to honour a living architect 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".
The award, won for the first time by an Indian architect, Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, is given to the winner during an official ceremony that changes venue every year and consists in a paper certificate, a cash prize of 100,000 dollars and a bronze medal (since 1987, replacing the Henry Moore sculpture previously used for the purpose). The medal features some engravings inspired by the work of the American architect Louis Sullivan and an English inscription communicating the three fundamental principles of architecture: commodity, firmness and delight.
Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi: winner of the 2018 Pritzker Prize
Born in 1927 and originally from Pune, one of the largest cities in western India, Doshi has a long career behind him with almost 70 years of work that started in 1947 with architectural studies at the Mumbai School of Architecture (then Bombay). After a decade spent in London and France, where he had the privilege of working alongside one of the most influential figures of contemporary architecture, Le Corbusier, in the mid-1950s Doshi returned to India to oversee the construction of some important projects in the cities of Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. From 1962 and in the following 10 years, he also worked with the American architect Louis Khan, in particular on the project for the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.
In all these years, Doshi has designed works that can improve the lives of people from all social groups, devoting himself to the construction of low-cost residential complexes including Life Insurance Corporation Housing in Ahmedabad and Aranya Low Cost Housing in Indore. For this reason, the judging commission of the Pritzker Prize decided to recognise Doshi, stating that "his work in architecture to affect humanity is deeply personal, responsive and meaningful".
The official award ceremony will take place on 16 May at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, at a public conference held by the winner himself.
The judges of the Pritzker Prize: one is from Italy
Chaired by Glenn Murcutt, 2002 Pritzker Prize winner, the 2018 Pritzker Prize jury has 10 members, including some esteemed winners of the past like Richard Rogers, Kazuyo Sejima and Wang Shu.
One of the members of the jury is the Italian Benedetta Tagliabue, architect and director of the firm EMBT Miralles Tagliabue based in Barcelona and founded in 1991 together with her husband Enric Miralles. The firm can boast works like the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, the new Gas Natural office building and plans for the restyling of the Santa Caterina market in Barcelona.
The architect's participation in a prestigious jury like that of the Pritzker Prize underlines the central role that Made in Italy plays in global architecture. In fact, competence, quality and functional design are the business card with which Italian architects and designers present themselves on the international scene, as in the case of Corradi, a leading company in outdoor living.
Still today the Pritzker Prize represents one of the most coveted awards in the sector. In fact, precisely because of the global interest in this award, the conference and the ceremony of the 2018 Pritzker Prize will be public and streamed live on 16 May on the Facebook and Instagram pages of the John F. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (via @UofTDaniels). A recording of the event will then be available on the university's YouTube channel.
Architecture is first and foremost a service whose primary objective is to improve the quality of life: this is why Corradi is always focused on the specific needs of people, their time and their space, combining functionality, innovation and elegance for products that are capable of making people dream.
Photo courtesy of VSF and the Pritzker Architecture Prize.