Corbusier's Chandigarh


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February 2nd 2007
Published: February 2nd 2007
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Le Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan Sabha

Curved roof form on the South Facade.
Now this entry comes with a warning as many of you may find this boring as all hell, as its specifically for the Architects. I’m standing here in Chandigarh surrounded by Le Corbusier, literally there are examples of his work everywhere, there can’t be any place in the world that has so many masterpieces from a single architect. Chandigarh is an experimental city designed in1952, and is the single biggest and most significant example of urban planning, executed by Le Corbusier. It demonstrates Corbusier’s modern idiom of architecture, his radical and visionary plan of low density terrace housing, monumental government buildings, tree lined streets and green belts penetrating the orthogonal plan. Some will like his work others may not, but undeniably ‘Chandigarh is the biggest example in India of experimental architecture. It hits you on the head and makes you think’.

There’s so much to write about this place but not enough time, so I’m going to have to keep it short and sweet and rely on the photos to tell the story. The city is spread over a massive area, divided into 1.2 by 0.8km neighborhoods or sectors each containing their own shops, schools, places of worship etc, with
Le Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan Sabha

Penetration in the concrete with the Secretariat behind.
additional key sectors such as the main shopping precinct, university sectors as well as administration and government facilities. Conveniently all these neighborhoods are named ‘Sector 1 to Sector 46’ (excluding unlucky 13) which comes across a little incarcerating and prison like but anyway. The amazing part for India mind you is the fact the city is clean, has constructed roads, underground sewage, tree lined streets and an order not seen anywhere else in the country.

The most significant buildings designed by Le Corbusier are in Sector 1, known as the Capitol Complex which encompasses three major buildings of the Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) and the High Court - bold sculptural forms, pure, cubical form, geometrically subdivided with an emphasis on proportion, scale and detail. In particular the Vidhan Sabha demonstrates the plasticity of Corb’s work, with the curved over hanging roof, as well as the slender piloti supporting the slabs within the main internal space. Not that I have any photos as well the security around these places is ridiculous and internal shots are band. Mind you I’m lucky that I have any shots and a visit to Chandigarh is a experience in Indian Bureaucracy. Just to
Le Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan Sabha

Legislative building in foreground with the Secretariat behind in the distance.
see these buildings, you have to apply for permission (at the tourist center) to visit the buildings, then gain approval of your application, which includes many visits to many people in the the chain of command, constantly filing in paper work, signing books, gaining further permission and being escorted around by an armed security guard while you take photo’s. Way too painful, these guys like creating work for themselves. Anyway the Architecture is amazing, you can get a little overwhelmed by the constant array of concrete, and is a little dull, but still whole concept is breathtaking. For those not interested in Architecture, sorry I stole 5 minutes of your life, but for those that are, check out the photos of the Corbusier’s work, again I can’t believe there are so many examples in one place!



Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


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Le Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan Sabha
Le Corbusier's Vihan Sabha

West entry from 1st floor ramp.
Le Corbusier's Vihan SabhaLe Corbusier's Vihan Sabha
Le Corbusier's Vihan Sabha

Aerial shot of the the Legislative Assembly.
Open Hand Sculpture SketchOpen Hand Sculpture Sketch
Open Hand Sculpture Sketch

An original sketch of the sculpture by Corb.
Le Corbusier's High CourtLe Corbusier's High Court
Le Corbusier's High Court

North Facade facing the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) some 400m away.
Le Corbusier's High CourtLe Corbusier's High Court
Le Corbusier's High Court

Major ramp through the building.
Le Corbusier's High CourtLe Corbusier's High Court
Le Corbusier's High Court

Light through the main ramp.
Le Corbusier's Art Galley and MuseumLe Corbusier's Art Galley and Museum
Le Corbusier's Art Galley and Museum

Internal shot of gallery.
Le Corbusier's Art Galley and MuseumLe Corbusier's Art Galley and Museum
Le Corbusier's Art Galley and Museum

Aluminium louver blades manually adjusted.
Le Corbusier's City MuseumLe Corbusier's City Museum
Le Corbusier's City Museum

Originally called the 'Pavilion of Temporary Exhibitions'
Main Central PlazaMain Central Plaza
Main Central Plaza

A main piazza flanked with 4 story buildings.


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