Area of the city Chandigarh: 114 km2
Average Elevation : 321 metres (1083 ft)
Chandigarh, completed in 1951, is the green and clean city of India. The famous Swiss-American architect Le Corbusier designed this city. The master plan of the city is one of the ideal examples of neighborhood and garden city concept. A new city became a requirement after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Punjab had lost its earlier capital Lahore, that became the part of Pakistan. Moreover, the city gave a roof to the refugees, left behind after the partition. Chandigarh was also a dream project of the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Do you know: BBC reported the Chandigarh city as the most perfect city in the world.
History of Chandigarh
Le Corbusier was not the first person to dream about Chandigarh. The designing of the masterplan of Chandigarh was first commissioned to Albert Mayer and Matthew Nowicki.
Before the completion of the design for Chandigarh, Matthew Nowicki was on the worldwide research case study, covering Europe. His plane crashed in the Western Desert of Egypt while returning to India. Meanwhile, Albert Mayer ( planner and architect) designed the city layout in the form of leaf shape, showcasing sectors, traffic segregation, and gardens. But due to the sudden death of Matthew Nowicki in a plane crash, Albert Mayer backed out of the project.
Now, Le Corbusier already had gained popularity due to his works of Villa Savoye and Unite’d Habitation. Therefore, it helped him in taking over the project Chandigarh.
Le Corbusier reached Chandigarh
The beautiful natural edges around the site astonished Le Corbusier. On the north, are the Shivalik Hills that give a skyline to the city. On either side are two waterbodies Sukhna Chow and Patiale Ki Rao.
Before starting, Corbusier went through the designs of Matthew Nowicki and Albert Mayer. He later made certain changes making the city layout in a complete gridiron pattern.
With a total of 56 sectors excluding sector 13 on the master plan. After the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre which occurred on 13 April 1919, 13 number became officially unlucky for the people of Punjab. There are many facts regarding Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh as well.
You may also like: 10 facts on Le Corbusier and Chandigarh, India
Concept of the city Chandigarh
Le Corbusier used the human body as the concept for the master plan of the utopian city Chandigarh;
With no doubt, he was an expert in expressing himself through his designs. First, he first connected himself with nature, and then came up with the idea of the concept. We, as an architect, while designing consider the anthropometrics of each space. In the same way, Corbusier came with the concept of designing the entire city, based on the human scale.
He compared the city, with the human body. Further divided the parts into zones like residential, commercial, industrial, etc. To understand the concept, read as follows:
HEAD: is the administrative zone of the city, which consists of the Capitol Complex Chandigarh, itself designed by Le Corbusier. The complex consists of Assembly Hall, High Court, Secretariat Building, Tower of Shadows, Open Hand Monument, and Sukhna Lake.
HEART: being the cultural Plaza of the city in Sector 17.HAND: depicts the industrial and commercial zone which is working for the city.
LUNGS: being the gardens and parks which are present throughout the city. Some examples are Zakhir Hussain Rose Garden, the garden of silence, Leisure Valley, etc.
ARTERIES: are the roadways and pathways which were divided into eight parts, also called the V8 roads of Chandigarh. Divided depending on the width and its role.
LEGS: are the residential areas, for the people to live and make the economy of the city.
Why Human Body Concept?
“The city of Chandigarh is planned to human scale. It puts us in touch with the infinite cosmos and nature. It provides us with places and buildings for all human activities by which the citizens can live a full and harmonious life. Here the radiance of nature and heart are within our reach.”
– Le Corbusier
For Le Corbusier: The concept of the human body also opted because a human body is very much balanced. Moreover, the scale and proportion of the city Chandigarh are all based on the human scale. This made the entire city, more comfortable for the people to live in. Whether talking about the roads, or the gardens of the city on a large scale, or about the buildings in a complex on a small scale. Each space of the city is based on the Golden Ratio Method.
The details of Chandigarh :
The blueprints of various road sections, handmade sketches, etc. can still be seen in the Chandigarh Museum of Architecture, sector 10.
The city is an ideal example of neighborhood planning and the garden city concept. Therefore this made the city the “green and clean city of India”. The city shows uniformity in its design, carrying similar units, similar facade, which again adds rhythm to space.
Famous places to visit in Chandigarh:
Visiting Chandigarh leaves an indelible impression left in the mind. Its regularity with the design, the material i.e. exposed brick and cement on the facade, makes it all unique.
Some of the famous places to visit are Sukhna Lake, Sector 17, Rose Gaden, Leisure Valley, Capitol Complex, etc.
Capitol Complex which was designed by Le Corbusier also became the UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2016.
The city is one of the biggest masterpieces of Le Corbusier. Within the less budget, Corbusier somehow managed in adding meaning to the city through his design. It was his futuristic approach, which made the city, still one of the best cities in the world.