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Chandigarh City

Architecture, 1950-th

Description of the artwork «Chandigarh City»

For the architect’s portfolio, no matter what time he lives, the project of the whole city is very rare, almost unrealistic, luck. But Le Corbusier dreamed of building a whole city from the age of 30. And in order to surely convince architectural officials and rulers of his own determination, he began with a city that already had a great time. In 1925, at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts, he presented plans for the restructuring of Paris, but from the very beginning it was too impudent a move. The French barely recovered from the renovation of Baron Osman, half-heartedly accepted the Eiffel Tower, in bars and fashionable salons still mourned about the intricate narrow streets along which slops flowed not so long ago, and were ready at all costs to preserve at least that which had survived under Osman .

Officials, journalists, and the chief architect of Paris called the madman Le Corbusier’s plan destructive and monstrous. Then he developed the idea of rebuilding an entire quarter in Algeria, but the person who financed the construction did not even want to meet with him. Although not fast and not close, but on the planet there was a place that it was not a pity to give Le Corbusier for development, without regretting the medieval cramped streets, luxurious villas and palaces. They simply were not there. The opportunity to build a utopian, "radiant", convenient city of equal people was given to Le Corbusier when he was already over 60.

In early 1947, India gained independence from Britain, which led to clashes between Muslims and Indians, refugee migration, and killings. The need to divide the country into two parts - Muslim and Hindu - became inevitable by the middle of the year. The lands between the two new states, Pakistan and India, were divided according to the principle of "who lives here more." And so it turned out that two Indian states were left without capitals - these cities went to Pakistan. Attempts to adapt existing states to the main city of the state did not suit anyone - and it was decided to simply build a new capital from scratch.

The Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, personally undertook to oversee the construction. It was important for him not only to rebuild a full-fledged city on empty lands at the foot of the Himalayas, but also to invest an important sense in this project: the city should become a symbol of a new India, an independent, modern, not backward colony, but a full-fledged participant in global changes and aspirations. Therefore, the project was entrusted to develop the most famous, controversial, bold, scandalous Western architect. Le Corbusier.
The Indian utopia Le Corbusier looked like this. The city is surrounded by a 16 km wide green zone, residents and guests leave their cars in the parking lot before entering the city and transfer to public transport. You don’t need to go anywhere for the most important daily affairs - in each separate quarter everything you need for everyday life is provided: schools, shops, parks, clinics. Next to the administrative buildings in a separate complex, there is an artificial lake with an area of 3 square kilometers with walking paths along the coast. Four architects worked on the construction of the city, for which Le Corbusier developed a plan, for 10 years: he, his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and his British wife Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew.

Le Corbuste took over the administrative sector: the buildings of the Palais de Justice, the Secretariat and the Assembly. In the city, where in summer the air temperature can reach 45 degrees Celsius, it was decided to use the most humane architectural find of Le Corbusier: powerful vertical external concrete blinds that do not allow the sun to warm the rooms, and people are not allowed to suffocate in stuffy rooms. The Palace of Justice even has a double roof: the outer concrete building, as it were, covers the inner one, protecting it from the sun from all sides. Le Corbusier diversifies the brutal power of raw concrete with either colored details or almost sculptural elements on flat roofs.

The Capitol Buildings in Chandigarh are included in the UNESCO heritage, and the city, of course, has changed significantly over 60 years. Designed for 150 thousand inhabitants, it now holds more than a million. Boats are floating on Lake Shukkhna, a green 16-kilometer zone around the city is being cut down for new buildings - Chandigarh already has two small suburbs. At the same time, the radiant city of Le Corbusier remained largely the way it was conceived: utopian, comfortable, drowning in greenery, opening a view from each window not to the courtyard or wall of the neighboring house, but always to trees and water.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below

Art form: Architecture

Style of art: Brutalism

Materials: Glass, Concrete

Date of creation: 1950-th

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