Theses Master's

Chandigarh: A Case Study of the local heritage designation process and regulatory framework of Modernist Architecture in India

Rajwade, Shivani

This thesis focuses on the designation process on a local level of the locally designated buildings and/ or sectors in the city of Chandigarh, India. The city is a prime example and one of the distinctive exercises of urban planning and modern architecture, designed by a Swiss- French architect, Le Corbusier and his team involving senior architects like Pierre Jeanneret, Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew along with a team of Indian architects and planners like M. N. Sharma, A. R. Prabhawalkar, Aditya Prakash, N. S. Lambha, P. L. Verma and others.

On one hand Le Corbusier's vision for Chandigarh was influenced by progressive and futurist Western modernist design principles and aesthetics. On the other hand there have been criticisms of Le Corbusier's approach, which has been seen as imposing Western ideals on India and disregarding local traditions, raising concerns about sustainability and liveability in the city. Despite these tensions, Chandigarh remains a unique example of modernist architecture and planning in India. This thesis considers the Historic Urban Core of Chandigarh and examines the current conditions of the built environment of some of the areas which have been designated as Grade 1 or Grade 2 sites by the Heritage Committee of the city.

In addition to this, this thesis outlines how these heritage zones are managed, or in many cases not managed and suggests a few ways to avoid violations to abide by the original legislation or to provide certain exceptions within the initial framework. Through these suggestions, this thesis aims to address the gaps observed in the management, through the lens of maintenance and policy enforcement. This thesis then states the implications and the urgency to recognize several other modern architecture/post-independence architecture sites in the country on the local and national levels.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Reggev, Kate
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 21, 2023