Chandigarh 2 (of 4): The landscape architecture of Le Corbusier’s Capitol Complex

Of the four ‘masters of modern architecture’ (Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe) Corb was the most interested in the integration of architecture and landscape. His design for Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex is a major example of the Abstract Modern approach to landscape architecture. But it was also a disaster and it looks terrible. The explanations, as discussed in the above video, are in part bad maintenance and in part the high security which discourages visitors.
But, Corb’s design is of considerable interest: it is a really good example of really bad landscape architecture. In Space Syntax terms it is very poorly integrated with Chandigarh; it is abstract visual space – not social space or ecological space; it is far too European in conception; it is the world’s largest public square – and far too big. So what should be done? It needs a re-design which keeps the good features of Corb’s landscape architecture and rights its wrongs.

 

It is difficult to think of any context which would have been suitable for Le Corbusier's landscape design for the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh. The design included a single line of trees; the mounds are shaped like giant water drops; there is enough space for several runways. But it is an interesting and innovative work of landscape architecture

It is difficult to think of any context which would have been suitable for Le Corbusier’s landscape design for the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh. The design included a single line of trees; the mounds are shaped like giant water drops; there is enough space for several runways. But it is an interesting and innovative work of landscape architecture

Tom Turner

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