Alvar Aalto 2020 awarded to Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai in India

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Alvar Aalto 2020 awarded to Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai in India
Carrimjee House. Photo: Studio Mumbai.

HELSINKI.- The fourteenth Alvar Aalto Medal has been awarded to the Indian architectural office Studio Mumbai and its director Bijoy Jain. In making its selection, the jury emphasized the studio’s skilful synthesis of architecture and craftsmanship. Studio Mumbai's work reflects an understanding of the unique geographical, climatic and social characteristics of the environment, giving insightful consideration to them in their design work.

The award was presented to the medallist in February at the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi, India.

“The work of Studio Mumbai is grounded on several values crucial for Alvar Aalto. Within this perspective, design touches all elements of a project. The buildings created by Bijoy Jain and his collaborators display a strong connection to a specific place and landscape: geographical, climatic and social particularities of the environment around the architectures are considered. In the creative process the conversation between architect and craftsmen takes place face to face; and it is from their combined perspective and mutual work, that the project takes shape. This special integration retains the human scale of the process and object of production,” states Jan Utzon, the chairman of the jury, in the jury report.

“The dominant “western” consumerist society of the modern era seems to be progressively losing any holistic conception of architecture, as adopted by Aalto. The example of Studio Mumbai as a successful programmatic collaboration between architect and craftsmen leads one to hope that this local condition can be re-integrated within future architectural production throughout the world,” the statement continues.

Studio Mumbai operates in India, Japan and Europe

Born in Mumbai in 1965, Bijoy Jain graduated as an architect from the University of Washington in St. Louis, USA, in 1990. He worked in Los Angeles and London before returning to India. Jain has taught at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, the Yale School of Architecture at Yale University, New Haven, USA, and the Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera Italiana in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He founded the architectural practice Studio Mumbai Architects in 1995, and nowadays it operates internationally, in India, Japan and Europe. The studio employs a multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers, craftsmen and master builders.

The major projects by Bijoy Jain and Studio Mumbai include: Copper House II, a residential building in Chondi, Maharashtra, India (2011); the Ganga Maki Textile Studio factory building in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India (2017); and the Yamashiroya Community Centre in Onomichi, Japan (2018). Among its honours, Studio Mumbai has been awarded the French Grande Medaille d’Or (2014) and the RIBA International Fellow (2017).

An exhibition of Studio Mumbai’s works opens at the Museum of Finnish Architecture

Alvar Aalto Medal, carrying the name of the architect and designed by Aalto himself, was founded in 1967 in order to honor creative architectural work. Nowadays the medal is given out every three years by the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, the Finnish Architectural Society and the City of Helsinki. The medal can be given to persons who have gained merit in the field of creative architecture in a very significant way.The award was scheduled to be handed out in 2020, but due to the global pandemic, the ceremony was postponed until this year.

The jury members 2020 were architect Enrique Sobejano from Spain, the civil engineer and urban planner Gunnar Heipp from Switzerland, and the architects Pia Ilonen and Anu Puustinen from Finland. Architect Jan Utzon from Denmark was the jury chair.

Alvar Aalto Medal 2020 exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki, 17.3.–22.8.2021. The Museum will stay closed to the public until 31 March, 2021.

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