Jackson, Iain ORCID: 0000-0003-3481-6895
(2021) Chandigarh. [Internet Publication]

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<p>Following independence from Britain in 1947, India was “partitioned,” resulting in the creation of West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The old Punjab capital of Lahore fell into the territory of West Pakistan, leaving Indian Punjab without an administrative center, and much emotional lament at the “loss” of Lahore. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressed this through commissioning a new city that would manifest his vision of a free India emerging from colonial rule. It was to be an administrative and cultural replacement for Lahore, a destination for refugees fleeing West Pakistan, and a symbolic concept of a modernizing, liberated India. Although often viewed as a standalone project, it formed part of a suite of new towns being developed across India at this time (and stretching back to colonial rule). However, Chandigarh became the most famous and significant of these projects because of its association with the Swiss-French architect and planning visionary, Le Corbusier. Before his appointment, American planner Albert Mayer and Polish architect Matthew Nowicki produced the first plan for the town, but following Nowicki’s unexpected death and difficulty paying Mayer’s fees in foreign currency, the Indian government looked for alternative designers. Engineer P. L. Varma and Administrator P. N. Thapar were sent on a recruitment mission to Europe, eventually enlisting Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maxwell Fry, and Jane Drew. Le Corbusier designed the master plan (an orthogonal CIAM grid revision of Mayer’s Radburn-type plan) as well as the government offices. The rest of the design team, including a cohort of Indian architects, would take responsibility for planning each of the city’s rectilinear neighborhoods, known as “sectors.” Most sectors were self-contained settlements of housing, schools, and local shops. Others were more specialist, such as Sector-14, which contained the university. Running through the center of the plan was an area devoted to nature and parkland, known as “Leisure Valley.” Le Corbusier designed the vast concrete government Secretariat, Assembly Building, and High Court in Sector-1 according to his Modulor proportioning system. The most dramatic structure is the Assembly Building, with its bold concrete portico and debating chambers topped with pyramidal and truncated hyperbolic paraboloid forms. These grand projects have dominated the perception of the city, but more recently there has been research into the various housing projects, the designs and contribution of the Indian architects, unexpected additions to the city plan such as informal settlements, and the vast visionary environment known as Nek Chand’s Rock Garden.</p>

Item Type: Internet Publication
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of the Arts
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2021 07:44
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2023 01:30
DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780190922467-0058
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