Balkrishna Doshi: The Modesty of Sangath

© Edmund Sumner. Courtesy of Divisare

Flying under the radar with a career that boasts some of the most prestigious works in architecture history, Indian Pritzker laureate, Balkrishna Doshi has produced some of the most elegant and understated works of his time. Most of them are calmly nestled in the rarefied space inhabited by a select few modernist masterpieces from the 20th century.

© Edmund Sumner. Courtesy of Divisare

Of all his modest masterpieces, one stands out as his seminal piece of work and that which most encapsulates the architect’s ideals and design philosophy; his own design studio, Sangath. This building can arguably be described as the culmination of all his theories and an amalgamation of his various approaches to a vernacular of modernism that is embedded in Indian culture and tradition.

© Edmund Sumner. Courtesy of Divisare

Immediately recognizable to those that know it and remarkably charming to newcomers, this studio is boldly crowned by two large vaults that lead you from the front entrance into a beautiful garden in the rear. Intentionally open to deal with the Indian climate and strategically positioned to bounce light, these vaults play a vital role in the internal comfort and daylighting of the design studios.

via Archdaily
Sangath Studio via Archdaily

There is a delightful connection between human and nature as one never feels sheltered away from their natural environment. The studios are sunken to keep them cool and they feed directly off the rear garden, creating modest spaces that prioritise the function while boldly presenting a monumental silhouette that creates a striking form.

© Edmund Sumner. Courtesy of Divisare
© Balkrishna Doshi

Loosely classified as a modernist creation, this studio was only conceived towards the end of the 20th century and pays homage to the concepts of many modernist masters from Le Corbusier to Louis Kahn; both mentors and close collaborators of Doshi in his earlier years.

Sangath Studio Model
© Edmund Sumner. Courtesy of Divisare

Balkrishna Doshi, the 2018, and oldest ever Pritzker prize laureate (age 90). Will forever go down as one of the most influential modernist architects and a pioneer of Asia’s Tropical Modernism.