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Symbol of Corbusier’s philosophy

Sited on the side of the esplanade between the Assembly Hall and the High Court,Martyr’s Memorial has a distinct character of its own.

Sited on the side of the esplanade between the Assembly Hall and the High Court,Martyr’s Memorial has a distinct character of its own. Built in 1960s and dedicated to the martyrs of Punjab,it consists of a square enclosure with one side elongated into a ramp creating a rising and descending promenade.

“Within the square,Le Corbusier proposed a few symbolic sculptures including a prone figure,a lion and a snake amid the broken ruins. But none of these art pieces,as suggested by Le Corbusier,have been placed there till date,” informs V N Singh,Nodal Officer,Le Corbusier Centre,as he shows us the swastika sign that now adorns the structure.

The concrete ramp permitting one to see the entire Capitol Complex from above,the memorial was conceived as a part of Le Corbusier’s architectural philosophy of installing certain symbols in the area.

“They were envisioned to punctuate the cross-axis of the Capital Complex. Jane Drew suggested the setting up of such signs and monuments as recognition of Le Corbusier’s invaluable contributions in the field of art and architecture. She felt that the symbols of Corbusier’s philosophy should be made evident to the residents of Chandigarh. One evening,on the lawn outside the Chandigarh rest house where Le Corbusier,Pierre Jeaneret,Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew were continuing their discussion regarding the project,Drew said: ‘Le Corbusier,you should set up in the heart of the Capitol the signs which symbolise the basis of your design philosophy and by which you arrived at your understanding of the art of city design’.”

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“These signs should be known as the key to the creation of Chandigarh,” Singh tells us these monuments included the Martyr’s Memorial,the Monument of Solar Hours,the Tower of Shadows,the Modular Sculpture,the Harmonic Spiral,the Trench of Consideration and the Open Hand. But of these only four have been built — the famous Open Hand,the Tower of Shadows,Martyr’s

Memorial and the Geometric Hill,which was to be a part of the Monument of Solar Hours.

First published on: 16-04-2009 at 12:31:30 am
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