Pages from the Sketchbook – BV Doshi
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Pages from the Sketchbook – BV Doshi

As we pull pages out of the prolific architect, BV Doshi’s personal sketchbook, Gautam Bhatia reflects on the practice of sketching and its influence.

by Gautam Bhatia Jun 02, 2019

If the architecture of BV Doshi is peppered with a history of influences – Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, and others – his way of observing the world around him comes from an innately personal vision. “I was born into an extended Hindu family in Pune where several generations lived together under one roof. During those years my visits to nearby villages, temples and other houses gave me an opportunity to immerse myself in the constant flux of life,” so records Doshi in his book, Paths Unchartered. How these early years influenced the young mind is difficult to say, but something of these impressions is visible in the vast collection of sketches, and the constant outpouring of ideas that the architect maintained for over 60 years in his notebooks. The scribble, as passing reminder of a memory, the line drawing as an incomplete pictorial view, and the finished sketch, worked and reworked into a refined blackness, are all part of a repertoire that engages a widely disparate set of subjects. Doshi draws buildings and thoughts for buildings, people with faces or as a general mass in the background, animals, abstract and real – work made either as pieces of art or as personal recordings, but everything that falls in and out of his frame of vision. As with any artist, the preferred medium of expression is always visual and not literary. The limiting condition of words in describing both, a state of reality and a state of mind makes the hand drawn sketch a critical measure of private beliefs. Doshi’s fluency with it is marked by his equal ability to see, and make the ordinary seem special in translation. It is a measure of someone not just adept in the craft but one who also uses the depth of his long experience to good effect. “When I look back and reflect on things now, I realize the whys and wherefores of the acceptance of life. That it stems from constantly sharing living space with many.”

  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vāstu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vāstu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC
  • BV Doshi’s personal sketches Image Credit: Courtesy of Vastu Shilpā Consultants - VSC

(This article was first published in Issue#19 of mondo*arc india journal - an initiative by STIR.)

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About Author

Gautam Bhatia

Gautam Bhatia

Bhatia graduated in Fine Arts and got a Masters degree in Architecture. A Delhi-based architect, he has received several awards for his drawings and buildings and has written extensively on architecture. He has authored a biography on Laurie Baker; Punjabi Baroque, Silent Spaces, Malaria Dreams (a trilogy that focuses on the cultural and social aspects of buildings); Lie: A Traditional Tale of Modern India among many others.

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