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BV Doshi on the idea of existence, home and ‘sustainability from within’

The first of a series of short films for the Time Space Existence biennial 2020 released by PLANE-SITE features an interesting conversation with the 2018 Pritzker-winning architect.

by Zohra Khan Nov 23, 2019

"True sustainability is going towards an integral way of life and an integral way of thinking."
– BV Doshi, 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

Indian visionary architect BV Doshi features in a short film by PLANE-SITE produced in the run-up to the opening of the Time Space Existence biennial to be held in Venice next year.

The video is part of the Time Space Existence series which brings together intriguing conversations with prominent and emerging architects, with a previous lineup comprising the likes of Arata Isozaki, Fumihiko Maki, Denise Scott Brown, Daniel Libeskind and Kengo Kuma.

06 min watch BV Doshi from the Time Space Existence series | PLANE-SITE | STIRworld
BV Doshi - TIME SPACE EXISTENCE Video Credit: Courtesy of PLANE-SITE

In the film, Doshi reflects on the notion of existence and the concept of ‘home’ existing at many scales. He talks about what connected him with his two great teachers, Le Corbusier and Louis I Kahn, on a deeper level, and answers why sustainability is detached from people today.

“Creation of architecture is about creating moods and feelings.”

“Existence is an attitude of emotions,” he says and adds that the role of architecture is about creating different moods and feelings. The founder of Vāstu Shilpā Consultants, whose first international retrospective was hosted at the Vitra Design Museum this September, has over the last six decades of practice produced work as an extension of his own life.

  • Aranya Low Cost Housing, Indore, India | PLANE-SITE | STIRworld
    Aranya Low Cost Housing, Indore, India Image Credit: Courtesy of PLANE-SITE
  • Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore  | PLANE-SITE | STIRworld
    Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore Image Credit: Courtesy of PLANE-SITE
  • Sangath Studio, Ahmedabad, India  | PLANE-SITE | STIRworld
    Sangath Studio, Ahmedabad, India Image Credit: Courtesy of PLANE-SITE
  • The Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad | PLANE-SITE | STIRworld
    The Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, India Image Credit: Courtesy of PLANE-SITE

A large part of Doshi’s critical repertoire is influenced by his relationships with Corbusier and Kahn whom he fondly describes as a guru and yogi respectively, in the video. While one inspired him to interpret the idea of space, form, light and ventilation into architecture, the other introduced the notion of fragility and ephemerality of life. However, the common thread that Doshi picked from the two was the search for oneself.

“We are looking at sustainability as something outside us.”

Having designed across a range of scales - from town planning, social housing, institutions, and public spaces – each project by the Ahmedabad-based architect expresses poetics, purpose and a deep appreciation of material context. Home to him is a living and sacred space that provides a basis for cooperation and tolerance. And as he mentions in the video, a home extends from a family household to the planet we share, and that sustainability should come from within. “How can the earth be separate from you?” he asks. “True sustainability is going towards an integral way of life, and an integral way of thinking.”

The Time Space Existence video series has been made possible with the support of European Cultural Centre.

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than two years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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