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TODAY WAS exactly how Le Corbusier would have liked to celebrate his birthday: with the people of Chandigarh, walking through the beautiful spaces of the city, past its many majestic buildings, looking at artists create new forms at the majestic Capitol Complex and finally interacting and looking at the future architects, who would take his vision of Chandigarh a step further. And this is exactly how the first day of the four-day Chandigarh Arts and Heritage Festival 2016 unfolded, with a series of events that were dedicated to Corbusier and the citizens of his City Beautiful.
A heritage walk from Rose Garden to the Government Museum and then a treasure hunt from Rock Garden to Capitol Complex made people explore the places and share memories together. The Capitol Complex, which recently got the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Status, a moment of pride and glory for the people of Chandigarh, was the place chosen to cut the cake on the birth anniversary of Swiss-French architect, and complementing the moment was the beginning of work by artists, as part of an art installation workshop.
The Chandigarh College of Architecture was the venue of the celebrations for the evening, with a large screen, lighting and interesting creations with white fabric on the stage. Here, amidst students of the college UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore inaugurated the website of Capitol Complex. The website, designed for people who are keen to know more about the buildings here, provides immaculate details of the monuments, with galleries of photographs, Corbusier’s vision for the Capitol Complex and a brochure on various technical and artistic aspects of the complex, including drawings. The website strives to be an invaluable source for students and researchers, working on the Capitol Complex.
The evening was special as renowned architect Karan Grover delivered a memorial lecture on Corbusier, and in a multi-dimensional presentation gave the audience a look at the future of architecture, “and what better place to discuss this than in a city which was built as a model for the future of our nation”.
With videos, photographs, his own work, Grover, an award-winning architect, spoke about how Chandigarh doesn’t need to be just a smart city, but a place where culture and heritage are also an equal focus. “Corbusier did not finish his dream of Chandigarh, it’s a city which is green, spacious, clean, faces less traffic congestion, is probably a slum-free city, an ideal place, but we also need to relook at Chandigarh and make it a socially relevant and responsible place,” Grover urged the students of the College of Architecture to use the college to add value to the city.
Suggesting that students should plan 10 CSR projects for the city, and take funding to complete these, Grover also added how the city must be a space for larger events like NASA, where students from 400 colleges of architecture come together to brain-storm and think of new ideas for Chandigarh.
“We need to implement our heritage in our architecture. Innovation is a result of change and Chandigarh represents a free nation, and a spirit of people to find a voice. We need to develop more community spaces here and think of viable solutions for the future. Corbusier provided us with the knowledge to discover our identity, and we need to learn from history and use it to create spaces which are in harmony with the environment.”
Sustainability, he added, is a movement and future of design, and in this ever-changing environment, we must provide more, and utilise less, focus on both tangible and intangible and be in the deepest pursuit of finding inspiration. “Le Corbusier led us towards a new architecture, and we must create and push the boundaries of possibilities, improve quality of lives of strangers and provide solutions to endless problems,” summed up Grover.