Structural plans of Capitol Complex not with Admn,Roorkee body to rescue

Capitol Complex was constructed in 1950s,is one of the most renowned structures by creator of city Le Corbusier.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published:January 3, 2014 4:05 am

The UT Administration may be heading towards applying for UNESCO heritage status for the buildings in Chandigarh,but the structural plans of the Capitol Complex are not in its possession. Communication to the Punjab government has also yielded no result in this regard. The UT Administration would now be getting the structural plans prepared from the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI),Roorkee.

The Capitol Complex was constructed in the 1950s and is one of the most renowned structures prepared by creator of the city Le Corbusier. The complex was designed to be the head of the city or the seat of power. It comprises the Secretariat,High Court and the Assembly apart from several monuments. The governments of Punjab and Haryana have occupied these buildings.

During re-organisation,when Chandigarh became a Union Territory,files were transferred here from the officials of the Punjab government. Officials say that those pertaining to the structural designs of the Capitol Complex could not be found when the records were checked. Letters were then written to the Punjab government to know if the layout plans were available with them. This also yielded no result.

Two years back,the UT Administration had shortlisted CBRI for restoration of the buildings in the Capitol Complex as well as to know the structural stability. An official says since the structural plans were not available,it was difficult to ascertain the structural stability of the buildings without knowing the details of the material used. Also,several modifications have been undertaken inside the buildings.

Experts from CBRI will now use certain techniques wherein the buildings will be scanned and the structural plan prepared. This will enable assessing the structural stability of the buildings which are around six decades old. An official says that at that time the technology for making buildings earthquake-resistant was not available. With Chandigarh being in seismic zone V,a need has now been felt for this. In case the structures are found to be weak,these would be made earthquake-resistant through retrofitting. CBRI would also suggest ways to preserve the buildings. The concrete of which the buildings are constructed is showing signs of corroding. Measures to protect this would also be suggested.

The UT Administration is in the process of applying for UNESCO heritage status for the buildings in the Capitol Complex,Leisure Valley as well as Le Corbusier Centre in Sector 19. Chandigarh would be applying as part of a dossier of five other countries. The clearance for the same was received from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs recently.

Over the years,several modifications have been made to the buildings. The interiors of the buildings,especially,have undergone complete change with renovation done quite frequently. A few changes are also visible on the outer structure. The balconies have been covered and are being used as space for storing material. Some of the monuments are yet to be completed.

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