Save Chandigarh – Le Corbusier’s Indian Masterpiece
Preservation and rejuvenation: its a fine balancing act. Here in the UK architects and developers often feel held back by the restrictions imposed by organisations like English Heritage and CABE. Whilst we may find their actions debilitating and at times shortsighted, the job they do is a valuable one; preserving our built heritage.
I don’t say these words lightly – we need them. It is only when faced with a polar opposite situation that their value becomes clear. Over in the Indian city of Chandigarh, ransacking of the city’s most precious monuments has been taking place for decades, and now a group of local architects, campaigners, historians and officials are fighting to save the cities prestigious architectural history. Chandigarh is the home of Le Corbusiers Modernist vision. Here he created many public buildings and spaces within the city, working under the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) – a master plan for the division of urban functions, anthropomorphic plan form and a hierarchy of road and pedestrian networks.
The city has become a place of keen interest to many architects and historians, and its important that a place that is considered by many to be a milestone in urban planning be preserved. Over at The Guardian there is a brilliant piece written by Jason Burke on the fight to save this wonderful city.
We may moan about institutions that fight to holt our march towards the architectural future, but I for now consider their role vital, and would certainly miss having them around – much like I would the buildings they fight to save.