Chandigarh celebrates Le Corbusier

Niki May Young
Wednesday 17 Sep 2008

Le Corbusier Museum and Research Centre to complete in Chandigarh, India

The Indian city of Chandigarh shall soon have its own museum and research centre dedicated to the works of Le Corbusier, the architect who conceptualised and designed the city in the 1950’s. The building, which will be the sixth of its kind in the world, and the second in India, (after the centre at Ahmadabad in the state of Gujarat), is set to be inaugurated in October 2008. The centre aims to preserve, interpret, research and display Corbusier’s works.

Asked about the location of the museum, Vidya Nand Singh, consultant and nodal officer of the project, revealed at a recently held press conference in Chandigarh that the Chandigarh administration shall “set up the ‘Le Corbusier museum and research centre’ at the old architect building in Sector 19, which was the office of the city's architect.

“The office of Le Corbusier was designed by himself and he sat there while conceptualizing the beautiful city almost six decades ago. We have not interfered with this office till date and everything including furniture, book shelf, windows, cupboards and even the floor are the same as they were in the 1950s”, he added.

The six rooms of the building shall be used to showcase architect’s works; three additional rooms will serve as the reception and information areas and the manual and digital reference library, with internet facilities. An open veranda in the building shall be employed for temporary exhibitions in order to promote the ancient, the medieval and the contemporary architecture and art of the region.

The building itself is designed so as to disallow the temperature inside the rooms to exceed 35 degrees Celsius in summer, and 10 degrees Celsius in winter. The resultant atmosphere inside the building is comfortable as well as environment friendly, since it does not require artificial lighting or air-conditioning.

The building will showcase everything from age-old maps and models of buildings in Chandigarh city, such as that of the Secretariat, the High Court and the Governors’ Palace, and others. Conceptual sketches, research and architectural drawings of Corbusier’s works shall also be made available on display, as well as online. I have (also) visited local architects, artists and senior citizens of the city, asking them to provide us with anything they can that is related to the architect and can be displayed,” stated Mr. SinghChandigarh is one of the oldest and fewest planned cities in India; it is one of the finest examples of town planning in the Indian context. Although this is a Chandigarh administration initiative, the project is also supported by the Centre Le Corbusier in Zurich, Foundation Le Corbusier in Paris, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal and the Museum of Architecture and Design in Chicago. “Students and scholars from all over the world can come here and do research on the works and lifestyle of Le Corbusier", concluded Mr Singh.

Rukmini Kamat


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