Chandigarh, the dream city of India's first Prime Minister, Sh. Jawahar Lal Nehru,
was planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. Picturesquely located at
the foothills of Shivaliks, it is known as one of the best experiments in urban
planning and modern architecture in the twentieth century in India. Chandigarh derives
its name from the temple of "Chandi Mandir" located in the vicinity of the site
selected for the city. The deity 'Chandi', the goddess of power and a fort of 'garh'
laying beyond the temple gave the city its name "Chandigarh-The City Beautiful".The
city has a pre-historic past. The gently sloping plains on which modern Chandigarh
exists, was in the ancient past, a wide lake ringed by a marsh. The fossil remains
found at the site indicate a large variety of aquatic and amphibian life, which
was supported by that environment. About 8000 years ago the area was also known
to be a home to the Harappans.
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'SOMETHING GOOD COMETH OUT OF EVIL'; thus goes the Biblical saying. This legendry
proverb aptly describes the birth of the city of Chandigarh, which was conceived
immediately after India's Independence in 1947. With the partition in the subcontinent,
Lahore, the capital of undivided Punjab fell within Pakistan, leaving East Punjab
without a Capital. It was decided to built a new Capital city called Chandigarh
about 240 kms. north of New Delhi on a gently sloping terrain with foothills of
the Himalayas the Shivalik range of the North and two Seasonal rivulets flowing
on its two sides approximately 7-8 kms apart. The geographical location of the city
is 30 degree 50' N latitude and 76 degree 48' longitude and it lies at an altitude
varying from 304.8 to 365.76 meters above sea level. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Independent
India's first Prime Minister, laid down the founding principles of the new city
when he said "Let this be a new town, symbolic of freedom of India unfettered by
the traditions of the past.. an expressions of the nation's faith in the future".
The city is a product of Nehru's vision.
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The Capitol Complex is the focal point if the city, both visually and symbolically
whose architectural whose architecture is considering to be the most representative
of Le Corbusier's work. This complex of Govt. buildings representing all three essential
components of a complete democracy the Legislature, the executive and the judiciary
stands against the blue silhouette of lower Shivalik ranges, on the foothills of
Himalayas. The Capitol Complex is the embodiment of the spirit of exaltation, power
& permanence experienced by Indians on acquiring self government after long, bitter
struggle for freedom. The Capitol area was designed as a great pedestrian plaza
with motorized traffic confined to sunken trenches. The complex is planned on a
cross axis wherein rigid symmetry has been avoided in placement of various buildings.
The three major components of the Capitol are the Assembly (Legislation), the Secretariat
(Administration) and the High Court (Judiciary).
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The reorganization of the State of Punjab in 1966 resulted in Chandigarh being declared
a Union Territory besides serving as Capital of Punjab and the newly created State
of Haryana. In the process, Chandigarh became the seat of three governments & gained
in size and stature since it already had a central location in the region and a
sublime environment complementing its growth. Dr. M. S. Randhawa took over as the
first Chief Commissioner of the new Union Territory and was chiefly instrumental
in realization of the IInd phase in 1968 when M. N. Sharma was the chief architect.
This phase of development comprised of 17 Nos. sectors extending from 31 to 47.
The feedback which was gained from the development of Phase-I was wisely invested
into the planning of this phase and certain fundamental improvements were envisaged
in the Sector layout, housing and commercial environment.
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Chandigarh is unique, because it is the capital of two state governments, Punjab
and Haryana. Chandigarh is a planned city, with a high standard of civic amenities.
Chandigarh's infrastructure was originally planned for a population of 5 lakh, but
the city has expanded rapidly over the last three decades and faces problems common
to other growing cities in India, including the proliferation of slums and squatter
settlements. Despite these problems, Chandigarh ranks first in India in the Human
Development Index, quality of life and e-readiness. Keeping in view the need for
the investment of investible surplus, we have taken a number of major initiatives
to upgrade the infrastructure in Chandigarh, to boost economic growth in the region.
Chandigarh is emerging as a regional hub in the areas of service industry, education,
health, information technology, food and vegetable processing etc. Chandigarh's
plan priorities clearly focus on the targets and objectives contained in the National
Common Minimum Programme.
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'The Master plan prepared by Le Corbusier was broadly similar to the one prepared
by the team of planners led by Albert Mayer and Mathew Novicki except that the shape
of the city plan was modified from one with a curving road network to rectangular
shape with a grid iron pattern for the fast traffic roads, besides reducing its
area for reason of economy. The city plan was conceived as post war 'Garden City'
wherein vertical and high rise buildings were ruled out, keeping in view the socio
economic-conditions and living habits of the people. Due to economic constraints,
the master plan was to be realized in two phases, catering to a total population
of half a million. Phase-I consisting of 30 low density sector spread over an area
of 9000 acres (Sector 1 to 30) for 1,50,000 people whereas Phase-II consisting of
17 considerably high density Sectors ( Sectors 31 to 47) spread over an area of
6000 acres for a population of 3,50,000. The primary module of city's design is
a Sector, a neighborhood unit of size 800 meters x 1200 meters.
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'The functions of living occupies primary place. Keeping in view the habits of he
peoples, Le Corbusier planned that every dwelling should have three elements of
Sun, Space and greenery. The housing in the city can be sub-divided into two parts-
Government housing and Private Housing. The Govt. housing in the city was divided
into 13 categories, ranging from the house for the Chief Minister to the two-room
house completer with sanitary facilities, a kitchen, a verandah and a courtyard
for the lowest paid employee. The socio economic conditions of the city restricted
the height of most of the residential buildings to two to three storeyed structures.
In view of the needs of various economic classes, plots of areas ranging from 114sq.
mtrs. To 4500 sq. mtrs. were planned. The living habits of the people are of outdoo
type because of hot summers and hot and humid rainy seasons comprising most part
of the year. Keeping this factor in view, Corbusier conceived a series of Architectural
Controls / frame controls/ zoning regulations for each and every category of houses
in which it was mandatory to provide open to sky courtyard both at he front and
rear side of every house.
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A suitable conglomeration of natural and built environment is essential for every
sustainable habitation. Chandigarh's sustainability stems from its modern urbanism
planned in harmony with the elements. Unlike old towns and cities of India, it was
planned as a new city unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of India's
new found freedom and a step into the future.
The location of the site of the city has contributed immensely to its sustainability.
It had a number of natural advantages such as stability (bearing capacity of soil),
favourable water supply conditions, natural ground slope, inexhaustible supply of
building materials in the vicinity etc. The city has an extreme climate-cold winters
warm dry summers and the humid monsoon season. Accordingly, the architectural vocabulary
for the city's physical environment includes vernacular shading devices and features
such as sunshades (chajjas), fenestrations, parasols, louvers, verandahs, brick
jails & courtyards all aimed at natural climate control at micro level.
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This edict of Chandigarh was prescribed by Mon Le Corbusier, the planner of Chandigarh
for its citizens to follow in future The object of this edict is to enlighten the
present and future citizens of Chandigarh about the basic concepts of planning of
the city so that they become its guardians and save it from whims of individuals.
This edict sets out the following basic ideas underlying the planning of the city.
The city of Chandigarh is planned to human scale. It puts in touch with the infinite
cosmos and nature. It provides us with places and buildings for all human activities
in which the citizens can live a full and harmonious life. Here the radiance of
nature and heart are within our reach.
The city is composed of sectors. Each sector is ( 1/2 mile x 3/4 mile) 800 meters
x 1200 meters enclosed by roads allocated to fast mechanized transport and sealed
to direct access from the houses.The green strip should stay un-interrupted and
accommodate schools,sports, walks and recreational facilities for the sector.
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