“I think the main purpose of architecture should be like a stone dropped
into the lake, so that the
ripples go right up to the edge. The role of an architect is to look at much wider horizons,
wider scopes and get into those things.”
The seeds of the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Research and Studies in
Environmental Design (VSF)
re-evaluate his work by means of research, studies, and discussion. Inspired by the example of Le
Corbusier, he decided to set up a foundation for research in built-environment and habitat.
Since then VSF has looked back upon decades of work focused on understanding human habitats that have resulted into close to forty publications and research papers as well as ten documentaries till date. The foundation was established in 1978
as a public charitable trust and conceived as a link between academia and
architecture. The VSF's activities also include conducting research into existing
settlements in order to better understand relationships between human habitats and ecological,
economic, and social systems. Such studies have guided the VSF in its development of environmentally
appropriate design models and prototypes that are characteristic for the region. They have also
encouraged multidisciplinary capabilities aimed at bringing
integrated insights into the study of
environmental problems. The VSF promotes and disseminates the knowledge it has acquired by means of
studies and research in the form of publications, exhibitions, lectures,
workshops, and seminars.
Since 2003 the foundation has also conducted international habitat design
studios together with
European universities that now serve as platforms for discussions,
seminars and talks on current
challenges and developing appropriate solutions for human habitats. In addition to its documentary
work and post-occupancy studies, the foundation has been involved as voluntary advisors
and extending Doshi's existing buildings.
After Doshi reached eighty in 2007, the foundation initiated a programme of archiving and
documenting his works, which culminated in the retrospective exhibition
Celebrating Habitat - The
Real, the Virtual and the Imaginary held at New Delhi's National Gallery of Modern Art in 2014 and,
subsequently, at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai in 2017. In collaboration with the Vitra
Design Museum, this retrospective has been revisited and adapted to meet the requirements
travelling exhibition. The exhibition, Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for
the People offered
insights into the mind of the architect and his deep-rooted search to create 'living' architecture
capable of celebrating human habitat.
In 2021, Balkrishna Doshi Archives was established with a vision to
make Doshi's body of work
accessible to a wider audience, while also preserving valuable archival material.The programmes and
collection at the Archives are maintained by VSF, with an ongoing process of creating a physically
accessible space. Currently, the catalogued archive consists of over 10,000 digitized drawings,
photographs, sketches and films, with an ever-growing physical collection.
Following Doshi's passing on 24th January 2023, the relevance and role of the Archives in carrying
forward his legacy has become all the more pertinent. We hope the Archives will serve to inspire,
educate and enrich future generations of architecture students and professionals.
We at the Vastushilpa Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has
supported the activities at VSF. Most importantly, we are indebted to Balkrishna Doshi for his
unconditional guidance and for inspiring us and raising the right questions at the right time.
Truly, it has been an enriching and encouraging journey of learning, reflection, and
reinterpretation as we launch his online archives on his 96th birth anniversary on 26th August 2023.
Khushnu Panthaki Hoof
Director of the Vastushilpa Foundation | Balkrishna Doshi