Meet Mr. Doshi, known as the Father of Indian Architecture. For Americans, that makes him the Frank Lloyd Wright of Indian architecture. Mr. Doshi was the dean of the CEPT Architecture School for 20 years and designed the wonderful campus where we spent 3 months of our time in India. It is perfect for an Indian site, all open to the sun and air. There are some problems during monsoons as the monkeys seek shelter in the studios! I had intended to write on stairs, ancient and contemporary, but skipped over the ancient use of steps in Ahmedabad and concentrated on Doshi’s use of steps to change levels, move from level to level and what’s more evident to me as a gathering place for students, faculty and visitors to have lunch, a lecture or just a friendly chat!
Stairs up to the studios. . . . .
Influence of stairs from Corb in the Mill Owners’ Building?
Mr. Doshi was the guest critic for husband’s students’ final review and it was held in the Mill Owner’s Building! He is an amazing man, still designing, running his firm and he is 86 years young and looks just as he does in these photos with dark hair and smooth skin! He is agile and very alert giving the students constructive but kind critiques. A great advertisement of living the Indian lifestyle . He described several of the students projects as beautiful. That was a morning we will always remember.
The story I want to leave you with is an example of the Indian spirit which we found to be so amazing. Mr. Doshi is a very talented architect as I mentioned before. He has an international reputation not just a national one with awards and university chairs to prove it. Plans were progressing for the huge project of the Institute of Indian Management in Ahmedabad, a project most architects would be thrilled to design and lead, but the lead designer had not been chosen. Mr. Doshi was approached and told that the financial backers wanted him, Mr. Doshi to be the lead architect. He graciously thanked the group but said he thought that Lousi Kahn, an American architect with whom he had worked would be the best choice. He said it would be honored to work with and under Mr. Kahn ! I have known lots of architects and was shocked to hear this story. I have never known any architect who would have turned down this once in a lifetime project. Mr. Kahn was the designer and Mr. Doshi took the lessor postion to oversee the project as he had worked under LeCorbusier and his Indian projects. Mr. Doshi so exhibits the modest , unassuming, gracious, encouraging Indian man who doesn’t live to glorify his ego. But works to make others succeed and to make the world a better place for us all.
This curious looking installation, the gufa, is part of CEPT. It is used as a posting space for projects or just an interesting place for the students to relax. Notice the stairs. . . .
Meet Mr. Doshi from the following YouTube video.
Namaste. . . . . .This Is The Father of Indian Architecture!
Photos are from Google Images Public Domain