The architectural style of the city, which has rightly come to be called the ‘Chandigarh architecture’, is represented by the unfinished concrete for the buildings in the Capitol Complex and other major buildings, exposed brickwork and use of brise-soleil ( a louvered screen) that replaces conventional verandah to keep sunlight from walls and windows. Another characteristic is neatly finished during construction. There are no narrow streets in Chandigarh. It has wide roads to accommodate the modern means of transport. Most of the buildings are closely spaced, number of houses having been constructed in a single continuous row. This is called 'terrace housing'. Large number of houses in Chandigarh have been constructed in this mode.
For visitors, some buildings are on the "must-see" list. We will walk you through some of the most significant among these :
The Capitol Complex located in Sector 1 is the raison-d' etre for this city, the seat of the Government. Originally, it housed only the Government of Punjab but now it is the joint headquarters of Punjab and Haryana. The offices of the Union Territory of Chandigarh are located in Sector 9.
This sector, set against the backdrop of Shivalik hills, was entirely developed by Le Corbusier. The complex consists of the Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly and the High Court. There was to have been a fourth building in the form of A Raj Bhawan (Governor's Palace) or a Museum of Knowledge but this is yet to be realised.
The three edifices of the Capitol Complex stand in their majesty as monuments. They were conceived as temples of democracy of free India. Their bold sculptural forms epitomize the plasticity of Le Corbusier's architecture which consider concrete as "molten rock".
The law-interpreting monument was the first building to be built in the Capitol Complex during 1951-57. This structure has a double roof, projecting over the office block like a parasol or an inverted umbrella. This magnificent outward sweep of the upper roof is symbolic of protection & justice to the people. The 3 vertical piers, rising 60 feet from the floor and painted in bright colours from the grand entrance of the building facade. On the rear walls of the court rooms, hang the giant wooden tapestries designed by Le-Corbusier.
The Secretariat is the largest of these edifices in the Capitol Complex. It is the headquarter of both Punjab and Haryana governments. It is a huge multi-storied linear slab-like structure, intended as a work place for 4000 people. The building is 254 meters long and 42 meters high. It is composed of 8 storeys. The long line of rhythmic sun breakers is relieved by introducing varied heights and projections, together with a roof containing towers, funnels, pavilions and a cafeteria jutting out like an art object placed on a pedestal. In the hands of Corbusier, this basically repetitive framework has been shaped into a work of art. Built during 1953-59, it is shaped like an eight - storey concrete slab, with its distinctive brise-soleil ( louvered screen ) of deeply sculptured two-storey porticos in the centre, housing the offices of ministers. The cafeteria rests atop the terrace like an art object, giving a spectacular view of the city.
The Legislative Assembly at the north-eastern end of the Capitol piazza is the most sculptural of them all. The profile of this law forming monument epitomises stately grandeur. Square in plan, with a monumental portico standing free from the main building, it faces the High Court truncated hyperbolic paraboloid, extending well above the roof line. A pyramid covers the upper chamber of the erstwhile bicameral system and offers an exciting counterpoint to the cupola, lending artistic grace to the entire complex.
The Capitol Piazza extends to about 1,200 feet, displaying a number of attractive structures. These include the Martyrs' Memorial, raised in commemoration of the martyrs of India's freedom struggle, a Geometric Hill, the Towers of Shadows and the Open Hand Monument.
The University Campus was designed by Pierre Jeannerret under the general guidance of the legendary Le Corbusier. By now spread over an area of over 500 acres, the Campus has fairly well-marked zones: the teaching area in the north-east, with the Library, Fine Arts Museum, and the three-winged structure of the Gandhi Bhawan forming its core; the sports complex and the market in the middle; the University hostels on the flanks and the south; and the residential area in the south-east, stretching into the adjacent sector. There are nearly a dozen types of houses to accommodate the Faculty and the Employees. For the visiting faculty, eminent scholars, examiners, and others there are different Guest Houses, including a separate one for the foreign scholars. The construction and maintenance of the Campus buildings is looked after by the University Executive Engineer and his establishment.
Chandigarh –the largest and the most daring experiment in modern urbanism has become the Mecca for architects from all over the world. Chandigarh’s pre-eminence as an ‘International City‘ rests largely on the world renowned architect that Le Corbuiser; who developed its master plan in 1951, based on his urban planning theories and the masterly architectural works.
What is not so well known is the fact that the 20th century's greatest architect also succeeded in getting Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) established as an integral part of the great Chandigarh Experiment. His conviction was that the creation of built environment , however brilliant and consequential , cannot be fully grasped- much less perpetuated – if the principles regulating its concept are not properly understood through study of various components of the city in use.
The CCA aims at developing its unique inherent potential and to inspire, support, sustain and continue academic programmes whereby professionals –trained in the tradition of modern urbanism ushered in by the incomparable master- could extend the frontiers of Creativity in the pursuit of serving the Family of Man -- efficiently , comprehensively, beautifully.