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Chandigarh and New Delhi

Chandigarh and New Delhi Architecture Essay

Chandigarh was designed by Le Corbusier out of his depository of form and the visual stimulation of India. Le Corbusier developed a language that unnaturally monumentalizes democracy and climate with some of its elements having precursors in his tropical architecture. Lutyens architectural designs of New Delhi dates back in the years 1920’s and they combined Mughal and Western architectural styles. New Delhi was also designed using the bi-cultural outline thus giving a representation of the fundamental values which depicted conceptual models of settlement in the colonial society.

In the year 1950 Le Corbusier was in contact with the Indian government and therefore was appointed to supervise the building of Chandigarh, the capital of the Punjab (Benevolo, 1977). In the Chandigarh, Le Corbusier worked out the proportions of the cabanon based on a composition involving a centripetal spiral, a system that was complex and virtually unrecognizable owing to the apparent simplicity of the structure (Cohen & Le Corbusier, 2004). He also played with the contraction and expansion of space while the interior comprised an entrance hall. According to Gans & Le Corbusier (2006) the building at “Chandigarh were set among a series of gardens, courts, reflecting pools and monuments that were known as instruments of progress and civilization” (p. 220).

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The architecture in the building of Chandigarh used the vehicular approaches which were sunken five meters below the buildings and the soil was formed into the landscape mounds which figure prominently in the approach to the site (Gans & Le Corbusier, 2006). This planning had an expression of authority in all forms. Gans & Le Corbusier (2006) thus says that “the Governor’s Palace at Chandigarh was built with the analogy of Raj and ironic slipping of its axes” (p. 221).

In addition, Lang (2002) says that the plan of Chandigarh in 1952 was a rationalization and de-Anglo-Saxonisation of that developed by Mayer and Nowicki. Lang (2002) established that Le Corbusier straightened the road and park network designed by them to follow contours and watercourses into a rational orthogonal grid. As a result Chandigarh is a low rise Ville Radieuse. It was noted that Le Corbusier kept for himself the design of the capital complex and at least partially some major buildings which include a museum and an exhibition hall constructed in 1964-1986.

Chandigarh was truly a Modernist because its architecture was based on ideas of Le Corbusier who had initially proposed a number of earlier projects. Lang (2002) says that “the complex forms a bold scheme of abstract forms that enthralls visiting architects and gives many Indians especially those from Chandigarh a sense of pride” (p. 6.3).

Chandigarh was built through applying the theory of the seven ways. Benevolo (1977) says that Le Corbusier conceived of a street system of fast rods of varying degrees of importance which would intersect at right angles, thus creating a chess-board system of great rectangular sectors each about 100 hectares. Benevolo (1977) also says that “Le Corbusier tried to make architectural planning and town planning coincides and he immediately designed an admirable building type for the houses of the parihs” (p. 764).

Lutyens was involved in the architectural design of New Delhi. Pile (2005) says that Lutyens achieved a delicate balance between traditionalism and a forward looking approach at Castle Drogo. Modernism in New Delhi gave new forms that appeared in all the arts in painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature. Geurst (2009) says that Lutyens asked to design New Delhi. Besides that Britannica, Hoiberg & Ramchandani (2000) says that Lutyens is known specially for his planning of New Delhi and his design of the Viceroy’s House which is now the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

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New Delhi is one of the few pieces of imperial architecture designed by Lutyens that has over the time achieved critical acclaim (Fieldhouse, Burroughs & Stockwell, 1998). New Delhi is also a political symbol and hence its design was concerned with the architecture of power. Fieldhouse, Burroughs & Stockwell (1998) also notes that a younger generation of Indians sees Lutyens arrogant domes as symbols of alien imperial rule. At the same time Marxists stigmatize Delhi as an expression of the dominance dependence relationship of colonialism.

Furthermore, New Delhi is an example of the modern colonial city that shows clearly how the power structure inherent in the dominance dependence relationship of colonialism influenced urban development (Fieldhouse, Burroughs & Stockwell, 1998). Fieldhouse, Burroughs & Stockwell (1998) indicated that “in the colonial city of New Delhi, the population density is far lower, because it is a city of wide, tree lined roads designed for cars fronted bungalows with significant proportion of space that was allotted to visual and ceremonial or symbolic areas” (p. 68). Lutyens designed New Delhi such that it was a city planned for the motor car, the telephone and hence in this sense New Delhi, both in its functioning as well as its layout it represented a dependent, technological appendage of a Western industrial state.

New Delhi is considered as a visible symbol of power due to its sheer scale and beuty of the building and the subtle blending of Indian influence on an otherwise down Western classicism (Bruyn, Bain & Allardice, 2010). Although Lutyens was known for his racist views by despising all Indian architecture he was forced to include some native elements of his design. Bruyn, Bain & Allardice (2010) established that “Lutyens architecture of buildings of Central Delhi are symbols of imperial power intended to utterly dwarf and humble the individual but the modern Indian influences had a great deal to their stately beauty” (p. 429).

Moreover, Horton, Plunkett & Finlay (2002) noted that Lutyens designs combined Mughal and Western architectural styles with the most obvious Indian feature being the huge copper dome. Also Lutyens design for the buildings was considered too expensive because he always strived to achieve a sense of architectural monumentality.

In conclusion, all the architectures involved in Chandigarh worried about dealing appropriately with the Indian climate and construction techniques. Le Corbusier thus put into consideration a sense of the future not a present Indian life. On the other hand Lutyens designed New Delhi as architecture of the modern times by creating war memorials, monuments that were beautifully landscaped and of utmost originality. This implies that there was a great difference in the way in which the two architects came up with their designs. New Delhi was designed with a more detailed layout while putting a lot of imaginations of power and imperial rule into consideration to its works while Chandigarh was designed through vehicular approaches which were sunken five meters below the buildings and the soil was formed into the landscape mounds These designs expressed some authority at different perspectives of the state’s leadership.