Friday, July 10, 2009

Lindsay's Fulbright Plans

The idea for my Fulbright project came from the time I spent in India with CapAsia IV in 2005. Although we didn’t go to Chandigarh on the trip, in our readings we talked about Corbusier and his theories of dehistoricization and defamiliarization with regards to his plan for Chandigarh. I found it really interesting that he disregarded the culture and history of the country. From my few weeks in India, I realized how complex the culture and society are and how important they are there; it was hard for me to believe that a European would come disregarding culture and attempt a plan for a place like India!

The assignments for CapAsia really helped me to think more in depth about these topics – did Corbusier’s theories really work in practice? Was he able to change the way people used the spaces he designed? Do any of these theories hold up in practice or do people negotiate their spaces and use them to fit their own needs, as Nihal spoke about on the trip? If this were the case, perhaps it didn’t matter so much that a European architect designed an Indian city.

These questions led me to my Fulbright proposal in which I will be comparing the planning of Chandigarh and Gandhinagar and how their citizens use space in each city. These two cities served as exercises in new city planning after India gained independence. The first city, Chandigarh, has had a lot of attention and study because of Le Corbusier’s work on its plans; it has been much criticized for being designed from a western viewpoint and failing to accommodate the needs of its Indian citizens. Gandhinagar, in contrast, has been studied very little and will make an interesting comparison since its designers should theoretically have known the culture and therefore taken it into account. So I will be comparing different spaces in each city and how people use these spaces. I am very excited to be continuing with these ideas that began on CapAsia and to be able to nine months exploring India more in depth!

Lindsay will spend the 2009-10 academic year in Ahmedabad, at CEPT University


Anonymous upendra said...

Nehru wanted to build new city that would look as big and as magnificent as the European cities, perhaps as a as a symbol of their independence. Unfortunately, today it has just become a show piece. One can find lots of redundant exterior and interior spaces and not a single space correspond with the local context and human scale."It is indeed the people and their culture make the city vibrant and immortal."

Jaipur,on the other hand, is still active and vibrant and responds well to their local climate and culture.

Physical extravaganza and lofty structures are not always the answer. A must learn lesson for iconoclastic and egocentric architects and planners?

10:41 PM  
Blogger bagofcorn said...

From Lindsay:

However, at the same time one of the main goals/reasons for building Chandigarh was to give the Punjabis a city to make up for the loss of Lahore- to create a grand capital city to be proud of, and in a way I think that was accomplished.

Also I think most criticisms of Chandigarh are about the Capitol Complex, Corbusier's kind of "pet" project of the whole city - but what about the rest of the city? What about where the majority of people live?

And as Chandigarh was meant to be an exercise for Indian planners, if you look at Gandhinagar it seems that the thing they took from Chandigarh was the road layout and hierarchy and also the neighborhood blocks which were originally part of Mayer's plan.

The capitol complex at Gandhinagar seems to be the thing they didn't use from Chandi - they actually didn't want one person to design all the buildings, so now it's criticized for a lack of unity in the capitol buildings.

12:06 AM  
Blogger bagofcorn said...

I'll be blogging about my Fulbright project here:

11:18 PM  

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