India’s ‘architect for the poor’ wins Pritzker Prize

India’s Balkrishna Doshi, center in blue, who won the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize celebrates the announcement with his family members at his home in Ahmedabad, India, on Wednesday. (AP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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India’s ‘architect for the poor’ wins Pritzker Prize

BANGKOK: India’s Balkrishna Doshi, whose pared-back homes established his reputation as an architect for the poor, has been awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, highlighting his sustainable, low-cost style in a rapidly modernizing country.
Doshi’s “solutions take into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions, and therefore his architecture is totally engaged with sustainability,” the prize jury said in a statement Wednesday.
He “constantly demonstrates that all good architecture and urban planning must not only unite purpose and structure but take into account climate, site, technique, and craft, along with a deep understanding and appreciation of context.”
Doshi, 90, is the first from India to win the $100,000 award, which was established by the Pritzker family in Chicago, and is considered the highest honor in architecture.
Born into a family that was in the furniture business for two generations, Doshi began his architecture studies in 1947, the year India gained independence from Britain.
After a stint in London, he returned to India and oversaw projects of the legendary architect Le Corbusier in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. He also worked with the United States’ Louis Kahn, one of the world’s most revered architects.
“Infused with lessons from Western architects, he forged his artistic vision with a deep reverence for life, Eastern culture, and forces of nature to create an architecture that was personal,” the citation for the prize said.
“Alongside a deep respect for Indian history and culture, elements of his youth — memories of temples and bustling streets; scents of lacquer and wood from his grandfather’s furniture workshop — all find a way into his architecture.”
Doshi’s practice, Vastushilpa — later named Vastushilpa Foundation — has completed more than 100 projects including institutions, low-income housing projects, public spaces, galleries, and private homes.
“My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create a treasury of the architectural spirit,” Doshi said in a statement in response to the announcement of the award.
Doshi’s commitment to sustainability and his holistic approach to urban design are particularly relevant now, as India urbanizes at a fast clip, said Rajeev Kathpalia, director of Vastushilpa Foundation.
At least six homes are destroyed and 30 people forcibly evicted each hour in India, with the government’s ‘Smart Cities’ projects responsible for most evictions, according to advocacy group Housing and Land Rights Network.
“His style is more relevant today than before, as a large number of people still need help with basic shelter,” Kathpalia told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“It is incumbent on the architect community to help them participate in the country’s transformation.”


Boris Becker denies claims diplomatic passport is ‘fake’

Former German tennis player Boris Becker. (AFP)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Boris Becker denies claims diplomatic passport is ‘fake’

  • Lawyers for the three-time Wimbledon champion lodged a claim in the High Court in Britain saying that he had been appointed a sports attache for the CAR to the European Union (EU) in April
  • Becker shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1985 when, as an unseeded player, he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam champion at the age of 17

LONDON: Tennis legend Boris Becker on Friday insisted that his Central African Republic diplomatic passport, which he claims entitles him to immunity in bankruptcy proceedings, was real despite the country’s leaders calling it a “fake.”
“I have received this passport from the ambassador, I have spoken to the president on many occasions, it was an official inauguration,” the German star told BBC’s Andrew Marr.
“I believe the documents they are giving me must be right.”
Lawyers for the three-time Wimbledon champion lodged a claim in the High Court in Britain saying that he had been appointed a sports attache for the CAR to the European Union (EU) in April.
This, they argued, granted him immunity under the 1961 Vienna Diplomatic Convention on Diplomatic Relations from bankruptcy proceedings over failure to pay a long-standing debt in Britain.
Bur CAR leaders say the document’s serial number corresponded to one of a batch of “new passports that were stolen in 2014.”
In April, the 50-year-old former tennis star tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera at a meeting in Brussels.
Becker told Marr he was “very happy anytime soon to visit Bangui, the capital and to speak to the people, personally about how we can move forward and how can we resolve this misunderstanding.”
Becker shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1985 when, as an unseeded player, he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam champion at the age of 17, defending the trophy the following year.
He went on to enjoy a glittering career and amassed more than $25 million (21.65 million euros) in prize money.