On birth anniv, only two remember city’s architect

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It was a lonely birth anniversary for Chandigarh's master architect with just two visitors at the Le Corbusier centre in Sector 19 on Saturday. October 6, this year, was the 125th birth anniversary of Corbusier, the architect who is the mastermind behind the planning of city beautiful.

His office, turned into the Le Corbusier centre, however, bore a deserted look without a single soul, except for the guard and the cleaning staff.

Since the beginning of this year, just about 1,100 persons have visited the Centre. Even on weekends, an average of not more than 10 people come here. The guard at the centre says that very few local residents ever visit the centre. "Mostly a few foreign tourists, who know of Le Corbusier, come here. Of the few local people who come here, most are brought in groups by some institute on an educational trip," he said. In the past five weekends, the centre has played host to 53 visitors.

Director (tourism) Tanvi Garg explained that there was a small ceremony and lighting of the lamp later in the evening on Saturday to mark the quasquicentennial anniversary of Le Corbusier. "We meant to decorate the building but it would probably get a stale look by the evening when the lighting is visible, which is why we decorated it in the evening. The ceremony was also attended by secretary (tourism) D K Tiwari".

She added: "The crowd could have reduced following the shifting out of the Forest Department office from the premises. However, the centre will now be dedicated entirely to the works of Le Corbusier and research related to his works".

In the 1950s, Corbusier was invited to help with the construction of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the new capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana and the first planned city in India. He was commissioned by Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, to build a city that would replace Lahore, the capital of the Punjab lost to newly created Pakistan after Partition in 1947.

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