How does one create institutions that encourage dialogue – how can the remain open-ended and ambiguous? Is it possible to design spontaneity, communication, and flexibility?
Doshi’s institutional buildings demonstrate a high level of community awareness. By reconciling modern and traditional approaches, he has created schools, colleges, and research institutions whose structures encourage interaction and exchange without imposing formal authority. The grounds and buildings of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, for example, form an integrated context in which class-rooms and courtyards, staircases, corridors, and paths are all part of the learning space. The attention given to light and shade, gardens and greenery, and transitional spaces makes evident one of Doshi’s primary concerns—to give people the opportunity to pause, wander, or simply lose themselves. Shifting axes and a blurring of boundaries between inside and outside also characterize his own architectural studio, Sangath.
The use of local materials and building techniques makes Doshi’s architecture appear timeless. It also reflects his respect for Indian vernacular architecture, not least its solutions to the challenges posed by the harsh local climate. Gardens, fountains, and trees are pleasing to look at, but they also provide coolness and shade, while verandas and vaulted roofs reduce solar gain. In this sense, Doshi’s integration of traditional elements is also a mark of his environmental awareness.
National Institute of Fashion Technology origin story
by Balkrishna Doshi
“…Long ago there was a small village of mud and white walls where the National Institute of Fashion Technology campus now stands. Though small, this settlement was very beautiful. They had cattle, a few trees, and a central place. This central place had a small water body surrounded by steps. This very small body of water appeared to be a very sacred place, perhaps due to the scarcity of water. When asked, the villagers said that they had to dig deep to get to this water, and that they found it only at this spot. Because of this hard effort and the fear the water could eventually disappear, the villagers made this spot a place of pilgrimage.”
Composer and Doshi grandson Kabeer Kathpalia has written four soundtracks that work to further an immersive exhibition experience. The music represents various aspects of Doshi’s work, such as the time during which a building was built, the location and surroundings of a building, the music Doshi listened to during a project, and the atmosphere and mood of the building today. Click here to listen to one of these soundtracks: Soundscape of Sangath Outside.
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