The 14th Alvar Aalto Medal has been bestowed on the Indian architectural office Studio Mumbai and its founder, Bijoy Jain. This accolade has been given jointly by the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Finnish Association of Architects, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), the Finnish Architectural Society, and the City of Helsinki since 1967. It is now awarded every three years, in recognition of whole careers.
On the jury, with Jan Utzon presiding, were Enrique Sobejano, Gunnar Heipp, Pia Ilonen, and Anu Puustinen. In making its selection, it emphasized the practice’s capacity to synthesize architecture and craftsmanship, reflecting an understanding and a consideration of the unique geographic, climatic, and social characteristics of the environment in each work.
Born in Mumbai in 1965, Bijoy Jain studied architecture at the University of Washington in St. Louis (Missouri). He worked in Los Angeles and London before returning to India in 1995, when he set up Studio Mumbai Architects. Jain has taught at Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts) in Copenhagen and Yale University in New Haven (Connecticut). He currently teaches at the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
His building works include: Copper House II in Chondi, Maharashtra, India (2011); the Ganga Maki Textile Studio factory in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India (2017); and the Yamashiroya Community Centre in Onomichi, Japan (2018).
The award was to be handed to the winner in 2020, but because of the global pandemic the ceremony was postponed to this year. It was presented to Bijoy Jain in February at the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi, India.