Vikramaditya Prakash discusses vernacular architectural practice in the developing world. He describes how the rapidly changing landscape in South East Asian cities has renewed interest in master planning as a way to create “coherent visions for new mega-cities.” He discusses the ethical dilemma of master planning, and describes cases where Indian communities have resisted and adapted to master plans. He characterizes the local and global as “allegories of each other,” and calls master planning to be replaced by bodies and processes that produce and revise plans.
Video Archive | Chandigarh (8)
William Curtis briefly surveys ancient to contemporary architecture in India. He proposes a few enduring themes, such as concern for the climate, and relating forms to the human body. Curtis admits he is less interested
in monumental architecture than the vernacular buildings of rural villages and urban slums. He reviews the role of architecture in the transition from British rule to indepdendence, and discusses Le Corbusier and Chandigarh’s relationship to traditional Indian architecture.
Shelly Kappe introduces Mohan Sharma, noting his work on the plan of Chandigarh in collaboration with Le Corbusier, and his later implementation of the master plan of Abuja, Nigeria.
Mohan Sharma reviews the master plan for Chandigarh he developed with Le Corbusier. He discusses site considerations and the different functions of the plan. He shows early versions of the plan and unbuilt features. Sharma analyzes specific buildings, chronicling their development and integration in the master plan. He presents elements of the plan, including low income housing, civic buildings and schools. Sharma concludes with a conversation regarding his work in Chandigarh after Le Corbusier’s death.
Mohan Sharma is introduced with an overview of his careers as an urban planner and teacher. Mohan Sharma begins his lecture with an extensive reflection on his collaboration with Le Corbusier. Sharma recalls Corbusier’s professional disposition, while illustrating his decision-making process during
the planning of Chandigarh. He then reveals the site considerations and layout of the different functions of the plan. Next, Sharma documents specific buildings in the plan and chronicles their development and integration.
Mohan Sharma reflexs on his collaboration with Le Corbusier. Sharma describes Corbusier’s professional attitude, and illustrates his decision
making process during the planning of Chandigarh. Sharma reflects on Corbusier’s place in history, arguing that he operated outside of historical confines.
William Curtis argues that Le Corbusier’s architecture is multi-layered, and investigating his work requires attention to many different fields of meaning and connection. He characterizes his research and scholarship as an effort to rescue Le Corbusier from the platitudes that so often encrust him. Curtis prefers to take a long view of Le Corbusier, pretending he is 100 years away in order to bypass what he calls “the modernist and postmodernist fungus.” He discusses Le Corbusier’s travels to the East, memory and mis-remembering as an essential part of Le Corbusier’s creative method, and the Jantar Mantar observatory’s influence on Chandigarh.
William Curtis talks about the influences on Chandigarh, and especially Le Corbusier’s fascination with the buildings and plan of Jantar Mantar, the ancient astronomical observatory at Jaipur. Curtis argues that Le Corbusier’s architecture is multi-layered, and investigating his work requires attention to many different fields of meaning and connection. He characterizes his research and scholarship as an effort to rescue Le Corbusier from the platitudes that so often encrust him. Le Corbusier is much more interesting than Sigfried Giedion makes him out to be.