Pritzker Prize-winning architect Balkrishna Doshi dies at 95

Balkrishna Doshi, one of Indian’s most celebrated architects, died on January 24. He was 95. He was India's first — and to date, only — winner of the award, the profession's equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

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Balkrishna Doshi, one of Indian’s most celebrated architects, died on January 24. He was 95. He was India’s first — and to date, only — winner of the award, the profession’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

Born in Pune, in 1927 to a family of furniture makers, Doshi studied architecture at the Sir J J School of Architecture at the University of Bombay. From 1951 to 1954, he worked as a senior designer for Le Corbusier in Paris, and then, subsequently, for four more years in India.

He also forged a decade-long collaboration with architect Louis Kahn. By 1956, Doshi established his own practice: Vāstu Shilpā, later renamed Vāstu Shilpā Consultants–which today has over 60 employees and adheres to a ‘philosophy of proactive participation’ that invites dialogue and discourse.

In 2018, he received the Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of architecture, becoming the first Indian architect to receive the honour.

The government conferred the Padma Bhushan on him in 2020.

In 2022, Doshi received the ‘Royal Gold Medal’ from the Royal Institute of British Architects, which described his work as combining “pioneering modernism with vernacular, informed by a deep appreciation of the traditions of India’s architecture, climate, local culture and craft”.

US’ R’Bonney Gabriel is Miss Universe 2022

America’s R’Bonney Gabriel was chosen Miss Universe 2022 on  January  15. Amanda Dudamel of Venezuela got second and Andrina Martinez of Dominican Republic got the third position. On behalf of India, Divita Rai participated in the Miss Universe contest. The Miss Universe 2022 event was organized in the New Orleans city of America.

Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu, who was Miss Universe 2021, crowned the new Miss Universe of the United States as Miss Universe. 

Apart from America, these include Amanda Dudamel of Venezuela and Andrina Martinez of Dominican Republic. India’s Divita Rai could only reach the top-16. In the last round only one question was asked to all the three contestants. But among them R’Bonney Gabriel’s answer was liked by the judging panel the most.

Chris Hipkins will be New Zealand’s next PM

New Zealand’s former minister for COVID-19, Chris Hipkins, has been confirmed as the country’s next prime minister. Hipkins got the unanimous support of legislators from the ruling Labour Party after he was the only candidate to replace the charismatic Jacinda Ardern, who shocked the nation last week when she announced she was resigning after more than five years as prime minister.

Hipkins, 44, will be officially sworn in to his new role on January 25. He will have less than nine months before contesting a tough general election, with opinion polls indicating his party is trailing its conservative opposition.

“This is the biggest privilege and biggest responsibility of my life,” Hipkins said at a news conference announcing his appointment. “I am energised and excited by the challenge that lies ahead.”

Hipkins immediately acknowledged Ardern’s leadership, who he called one of New Zealand’s greatest prime ministers and an inspiration to women and girls everywhere. “She gave voice to those often overlooked in times of challenge and purposefully went about doing politics differently,” he said.

Renowned Assamese poet Nilamani Phukan passes away

Renowned Assamese poet and recipient of Jnanpith Award, Nilamani Phookan, has passed away. He was 89. Phookan was one of the most celebrated poets of Assam and has been awarded the country’s highest literary award, the 56th Jnanpith for the year 2021. The notable works of Phukan are ‘Xurjya Henu Naami Aahe Ei Nodiyedi’, ‘Kabita’, and ‘Gulapi Jamur Lagna’.

Phookan was born on September 10, 1933, Phookan’s poems were replete with French symbolism which he infused in his Assamese poetry. He was awarded the 1981 Sahitya Akademi Award in Assamese for his poetry collection, Kavita (Kobita). He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1990 and received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, the highest literary honor in India, given by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters in 2002. He was selected as an ‘Emeritus Fellow’ for a period of two years by the Cultural Department, Govt. of India in 1998. Assam Sahitya Sabha also conferred ‘Sahityacharya’ honour to him.