Tag Archives: Charles-Édouard Jeanneret

The sustainability challenge

Indian architecture has been decorated with its crown jewel BV Doshi being honoured with the Pritzker Prize, making him the first Indian ever to have received this honour.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner and writer, and a pioneer of what is now called modern architecture. In 1950, Le Corbusier laid the master plan for Chandigarh. Balkrishna Doshi (BV Doshi), born in Pune on 26 August 1927, is one of the last living architects to have apprenticed with Le Corbusier, and has built low-cost housing and public institutions, such as the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), IIM-Bangalore, the Aranya Low-Cost Housing, and Tagore Memorial Hall. In fact, the Aranya Low-Cost Housing project, located 6 km from Indore, was built at Rs 100 million way back in 1989, which also won Doshi the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1996.

The master plan for this had taken several aspects of sustainable living into consideration in a balanced manner; several considerations taken into account are extremely unique to the design and relevant to the concerned income group.

For instance, the building’s height-to-street width ratio ensures shade to streets at all times except when the sun is overhead. Concepts like these remain alien to several planners even today. Further, Doshi was significantly involved in the design and planning of the city of Chandigarh.

For his part, Doshi has said he owed the prestigious prize to his guru, Le Corbusier. My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create a treasury of architectural spirit.

I owe this prestigious prize to my guru, Le Corbusier, he said in a statement thanking the Pritzker jury.

Indeed, planning a sustainable habitat is the challenge urban local bodies face as they grapple with developing smart cities. While the progress on projects may be slow, the brilliance of some of the torchbearers of this mission is sure to inspire and revive this profession. Despite our rich heritage and knowledge, why has India remained poor in offering the best to architecture in the context of modern urbanism? Why are we not learning from the examples of our own past? Nearly a hundred years ago, Jamshedpur was created as India’s first planned smart industrial city; recently, at a function, Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran promised to turn the city smarter.

All considered, as our nation builds, the construction community must tread carefully. While we provide livelihood, we must train, administer and manage efficiently. Project management, skill training and use of technology are truly the guiding principles today.

Cheers to tomorrow!