Chandigarh to digitise documents of Le Corbusier


Chandigarh : Some invaluable documents related to legendary French architect Le Corbusier who planned Chandigarh in the 1950s can be seen online very soon, thanks to a move to digitise them.

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The administration of the union territory of Chandigarh has decided to digitise all the old documents of Corbusier about the designing of the city and all the correspondence between the Indian government and other architects of that time.

Chandigarh is one of India’s most well-planned cities.

The Government Museum and Art Gallery here has started the work of digitising over 50,000 documents available with them that pertain to the period from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.

“These documents include letters written by legendary architects like Le Corbusier, his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, Mathew Nowicki and Albert Mayer who worked on the concept of city beautiful,” Navjot P.S. Randhawa, director of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, told IANS.

“There are letters written by these architects to the Indian government in which they are suggesting new and innovative ideas, discussing various things and demanding various changes from them. We also have original maps, drawings and diagrams made during that period related to Chandigarh,” stated

The documents also include letters written by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Punjab’s former chief minister Partap Singh Kairon related to Chandigarh.

“This is a long process and will take another two-three weeks for completion. Every document will be scanned properly with the help of special cameras that we have taken on rent. Then the scanned copies will be uploaded using a special software,” said Randhawa.

For the time being these documents could be accessed online only inside the museum premises but the administration here has plans to gradually make them available on the internet.

Emphasising the need for digitisation, Randhawa added, “We have preserved these documents in the form of a book but they have become so delicate. However, we have tried our best to maintain these more than five-decade old documents but still most of them are on the verge of withering away.”

One of the caretakers of these documents said: “Every year hundreds of architecture students from all over the world come here to study the work of Corbusier and this initiative will certainly help them.

“The colour of these documents has changed and the ravages of time clearly show on them, so it is necessary to protect this legacy at the earliest.”

Maria Hayek, a student of architecture from Italy, who is in the city these days, told IANS: “I am on a tour of various countries to study the master projects of Corbusier. It is a long exercise to search for a particular letter written by him among the plethora of documents.

“This initiative will also eradicate the need for a guide to find a particular document and at the same time will enhance the lifespan of these rare documents,” said Hayek.