Visiting Chandigarh, UNESCO delegates discuss three key stalled projects
Delegates from seven countries are in Chandigarh for the International Standing Conference on architect Le Corbusier’s works
UNESCO delegates from seven countries on Friday discussed in detail the decision of the UN agency’s World Heritage Committee to suspend three projects at the Capitol Complex in Sector 1.
The discussions came up during the 7th International Standing Conference of architectural works of Le Corbusier under the Indian presidency, being hosted by the Chandigarh administration.
On July 17, 2016, UNESCO had inscribed “The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement” on the World Heritage List.
Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, 17 listed sites make up a transnational series associating seven member states — France, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland and India.
Chandigarh hosts marvellous examples of the Le Corbusier architecture, including the Capitol Complex.
In September, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee had suspended UT administration’s three projects for impacting the overall universal value (OUV) of Capitol Complex, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The projects included an underground multi-level parking lot; holistic development plan for Punjab and Haryana high court; and AC chiller plants. The decision was based on the negative impacts identified in the heritage impact assessment. Alternative locations and solutions that did not impact the OUV were sought.
During the first day of the conference on Friday, presentations on the works of Le Corbusier were given by each country. All state parties exchanged their views regarding instruments of restoration and preservations being used by them.
Among the delegates, Brigitte Bouvier from Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris; Benoît Dubosson from Switzerland; De Graef Rudy from Belgium and Kazuho Nakatani from Japan were present in person, while the other member states attended the session through video conference.
UT chief engineer CB Ojha gave a detailed presentation on the conservation of Capitol Complex and a detailed presentation on the heritage impact assessment was given by the Chandigarh College of Architecture.
The delegation members also visited the Government Museum in Sector 10, Le Corbusier Centre in Sector 19 and the Sector 17 Plaza. On Saturday, they will visit the Capitol Complex, before submitting a report.
Designed by Le Corbusier, Capitol Complex features three pillars of democracy – legislature, executive and judiciary – standing together.
A prime manifestation of Chandigarh’s architecture, with the Shivalik hills in the backdrop, the Capitol Complex comprises the Open Hand monument, Punjab and Haryana high court, Tower of Shadows, Geometric Hill, the legislative assembly and the secretariat.