Le Corbusier’s plan is legendary, as our many of the buildings that he designed throughout the community. His plan is based on four key functions: living, working, circulation, and care of body and spirit. Most of his buildings incorporate strong geometric forms, and raw, exposed concrete. Sally thought that it looked like Arthur Erickson had been here! Many of the buildings are quite timeless in their designs, and one would never guess they were over 50 years old; unless you look closely at the concrete, (that wasn’t that well done in the first place), since it is disintegrating quite badly. (And Lee Gavel at SFU thinks he has problems keeping Erickson’s structures in good shape!)
As we drove around, our tour was greatly enhanced by the company of two young Swedish girls, (one an architectural student studying in
One of the day’s highlights was standing outside the government employees’ housing that was built as part of the first phase. As we were taking pictures, an older turbaned man came out of the townhouse and said to us (and I’m not making this up) “Hello, I’m a Canadian on holiday in
While books have been written about
- The city is built up from a series of rectangles, each 1200 by 800 metres, which are fully self sufficient with housing, shops, community and recreational facilities;
- Careful consideration was given to the hierarchy of roads, so that only slow moving traffic goes through a sector; particular attention was given to pedestrians and cyclists;
- Le Corbusier developed both a Statute for the Land, and an Edict to help guide the planning process, and help future residents understand the underlying principles of the community plan;
- The landscaping was considered to be as important as the buildings; the Edict sets out requirements with respect to replacement planting to ensure that the original objectives can be achieved;
- No personal statues shall ever be permitted. These were seen as representative of a by-gone era and not in keeping with the new spirit of art for the city; ‘commemoration of persons shall be confined to suitably placed bronze plaques’!
- ‘The truthfulness of materials’ concrete, bricks, stone must be maintained for present and future buildings;
- Only industrial activities powered by electricity were permitted, so as to avoid polluting the environment;
- A man-made lake was to be considered as a gift from the creators to the residents, and to ensure its tranquility, there would be a perpetual ban on any noises;
- Art was considered an integral part of the community design, and was to be provided throughout the community; and
- Certain areas were designated as worthy of special architectural interest, and a central commercial area was to preserved as a pedestrian only zone.
While some parts of
A few final observations. Signs on bus shelters around town encourage residents to grow more trees and to educate their children! The gardens are numerous and impressive, especially the ‘rock garden’ which is built in a most whimsical way with recycled materials, such as broken electrical outlets. The housing, especially the town houses are very well designed, with what we would consider ‘elaborate’ exterior wall construction, However, in the newspaper I saw an ad for a new development on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana Road in nearby Morinda. It features Victorian facades, similar to what one might find in
I am so delighted we were able to rearrange our schedule in order to spend a day here.