05 March, 2021

‘Le Corbusier Set Aside Nowicki’s Mohalla Grid’

‘Le Corbusier Set Aside Nowicki’s Mohalla Grid’

Faced with the task of laying the groundwork for a new nation, the makers of modern India confronted complex questi­ons about the structures that would go on to define us—including the city of Chandi­garh. Historian Narayani Gupta explains how they did this while trying to keep a sense of continuity intact. Exce­rpts from an interview with Siddhartha Mishra:

How did architecture cope with the changes brought about by Ind­ependence?

I’m not sure if 1947 should be seen as a break in architectural styles and form. In 1911 a ‘great battle’ about the appropriate style for New Delhi took place. When Edwin Lutyens was chosen as chief architect, many in India and England protested, saying the style should harmonise with Indian tradition. The viceroy had to persuade Lutyens to inc­­­o­rporate Indian elements. This was what architectural historians beginning with James Fergusson called ‘Indo-Sar­acenic’ (Hindu-Islamic). This can be seen in...

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