Architecture in Movies

Architecture in Movies – Interstellar

It is very interesting to note that movies which consider architecture as an essential element of the film fall under two categories, fantasy and futuristic. Though people may argue that futuristic movies are quite similar to fantasy ones, we have to admit that futuristic movies are made with much more scientific reasoning and backing and surprisingly the architecture elements of such films are generally derived from the past. We have seen how many of the futuristic movies take inspiration from the fascist architecture styles of the Nazi or Soviet era. But here is one movie based on a futuristic story line which has chosen to ignore this clichéd architectural representations and have gone for a much more simplistic approach (After all, Less is More).

Christopher Nolan’s 2014 Science Fiction film Interstellar tells the story of a crew of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for humanity. The incredibly talented star cast of the movie include Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Michael Caine and Matt Damon.

Christopher Nolan had revealed in television interviews how he would have chosen architecture as an alternative career option. He had demonstrated his knowledge in the domain of architecture earlier in movies like Dark Knight Series and Inception. His approach has always being quite simplistic and grounded to reality, whether it was designing the city of Gotham in Batman movies or the spherical futuristic abode of humans in Interstellar.

So, many of you might be wondering what is there to talk about if the architecture style in the movie is quite simplistic and real. Well this is where we should not underestimate a man of Christopher Nolan’s calibre.


First let us discuss about the articulated machines present almost throughout the movie – The sleek grey acerbic robot named TARS (Voice by Bill Irwin). These rectangular slabs of shiny metal that walk, talk, have a sense of humour and operate like a cross between a Swiss army knife and an iPhone. Their blocky fragments can disconnect and rotate to perform a variety of actions, from pushing buttons to cart-wheeling across alien planets.  It also relates strongly to the architecture style of Mies van der Rohe, widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture along with Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusiner. Nolan explained in an interview how he honed in on the idea and asked the art designer of the film, Nathan Crowley who is a very big fan of modern architecture, “What if we designed a robot as if Mies van der Rohe designed a robot?” We can see how the machines of the movie are quite different from the anthropometric robots that we generally see in fiction (Like C3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars).

One of the most fascinating yet confusing part of the movie is the scene involving the Tesseract
One of the most fascinating yet confusing part of the movie is the scene involving the Tesseract

One of the most fascinating yet confusing part of the movie is the scene involving the Tesseract. (Spoiler Alert!) This appears when Coop (Matthew McConaughey) jumps from the space craft and is drawn into a black hole. Inside this black hole Nolan envisages an Escher-like architectural structure representing a single moment in time – the scene in which Coop leaves his daughter. Maurits Cornelis Escher is a Dutch graphic artist known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints which feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.

Inside this black hole Nolan envisages an Escher-like architectural structure representing a single moment in time
Inside this black hole Nolan envisages an Escher-like architectural structure representing a single moment in time

Most of the other architectural features in the movie like the spaceship, the travel pods, and the station of Dr Mann (played by Matt Damon) are based on real scientific elements and have also taken inspirations from classic science fiction movies like 2001 Space Odyssey. These spaces focus more on functional aspects. Even the futuristic abode of humans shown at the end of the movie is quite simplistic from an architectural point of view. Most of the buildings shown are similar to any modern day buildings we find around us. Be it the houses near which the kids play baseball or the interiors of the hospital where Coop meets his aging daughter, Murph. Of course the shape of the terrain and the play of gravity makes them look fascinating.

Overall we can say that Christopher Nolan has tried to provide a simplistic treatment to the architecture elements in the movie. Considering the already complicated plot and scientific elements in the movie, we can assume that he wanted the buildings to be as near to present day structures as possible. These simplistic elements help make the movie easy to relate to for the audience.

Contemporary Architecture

The development of Modernist architecture in India

The concept of “Modernism” in 20th century Indian architectural development remains difficult to grasp, as it was used within numerous stylistic developments, following the spirit of the day. Starting with the efforts made by Europeans in the 1920s, the idea of “modern architecture” as a revolutionary and innovative force started to make cautious headway in India in the early 1930s. But at that time any Western thought and practice introduced as a British import was seen as “modern”, as India had no uniform independent architectural movement in the early 20th century. Ideas influenced by the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier and then brought to India were modern, and the subsequent Art Deco movement, influenced by both regional and exotic motifs, also counted as modern. Even neoclassical architecture was still pronounced modern into the 1950s and even the 1960s. But Modernism in India was more like an overall approach to life. It meant designing the world positively, improving it, doing better than the required standard, being progressive and inventive, and this certainly included great visionary minds like Tagore and Nehru. British architects in India felt themselves to be modern, because they could work within an experimental field, almost without constraints and regulations, with an unusual degree of freedom. These various trends will now be discussed in a little more detail.

One consequence of the consolidation of British colonial power in the 19th century was that public buildings in particular became the centre of interest. Great educational institutions like Bombay University in 1870 or stations as gateways to the world, like Victoria Station in the former Bombay in 1887, or also important monuments like the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta in 1906, were prestigious structures by a self-confident class of British architects who wanted to demonstrate the superiority of European culture. This was particularly evident when the seat of government moved from Calcutta to Delhi and in 1912 Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker were commissioned to realise the government buildings in “New Delhi.” The architects designed a monumental urban street complex that was essentially alien to Indian cities, with a grandiose geometry of axes and avenues and above all two symmetrical administrative buildings flanking the view of the viceroy’s palace. Lavish colonnades, open verandas, tall, slender windows, chhajjas (wide roof overhangs) and cornices jaalis (circular stone apertures) and chhatris (free-standing pavilions) were used at the same time as decorative elements from typical historic Indian architecture. The viceroy’s palace has a dome reminiscent of the Buddhist stupa in Sanchi. Even though Lutyens and Baker fused classical European and Indian elements, the complex seems modern for its day, with its two-dimensional walls, reticent décor and austere geometry in the case of the palace in particular. The seat of government was not opened until 1931, after a building period of almost 20 years.

The main neoclassical period lasted well beyond the 1930s, above all because of the influence of the Indian Institute of Architects which existed since the 1920s, a British institution first headed by a Briton, Claude Batley. His theories were based on studies of Graeco-Roman, but also of Indian, classicism. His enormous influence led to the foundation of the conservative school, whose major exponents included Sudlow-Ballardie- Thompson, for example, and Ganesh Deolalikar, who worked up until the 1950s. His Supreme Court in New Delhi imitated the Lutyens-Baker buildings down to the last detail. The conservative, so-called revivalists also included B.R. Manickam with his monumental historical Vidhana Soudha government building in Bangalore built in 1952, reminiscent of Indian palace complexes. Colossal columns, Mogul domes, symmetry and monumental mass were evidence that historical European-Indian forms were being retained. But a new thinking had long since taken hold, based on the reduced formal language of the “international style,” but also attached to European abstract Expressionism, as can be seen in Arthur G. Shoesmith’s St. Martin’s Garrison Church in New Delhi of 1931, whose volumes loom like pure prisms of solid mass thrusting into one another. De Stijl, the important Dutch movement that ran parallel with the Bauhaus, had very little influence on India, however, even though Willem Marinus Dudok did realise some buildings there. In the early 1940s the austerity of what was later called classical Modernism started to be mixed with Expressionism and with decorative motifs, and above all fluent lines, often curved, markedly horizontal and vertical: the highly influential Art Deco movement, which spread over the whole of India, made a triumphant entry into the world of Indian architecture. France, but particularly America, stood model for this movement, whose architects raised Art Deco to an art form of great virtuosity. “Streamlined architecture,” as Art Deco was also known, developed its distinctive form partly from the technical achievements of its day, the rounded shapes of aircraft and cars. Then Frank Lloyd Wright discovered the decorative world of the Mexicans and of the Aztecs and Mayans. Their essentially geometrical motifs, along with associated devices like palms, aircraft and sunbeams, finally made their international début on the Art Deco stage. Indian Art Deco was also increasingly mixed with regional applications, leading to some lavishly decorated façades. In an age without television, architects were particularly fond of the generally popular cinema buildings, where they could create Art Deco designs with a monumental gesture. Many of these picture palaces have survived to the present day, providing evidence of a great architectural phase.

At the time of independence in 1947, India had only about 300 trained architects in a population of what was then 330 million, and only one training institution, the Indian Institute of Architects in Bombay. Those who could afford it studied abroad, preferably in the USA, as some Modernist heroes, especially from the Bauhaus, like Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer had emigrated to America from Fascist Germany. The first generation of Indian architects came back from America with a new optimism, free of the British influence at the Bombay school, euphoric and able to offer their urgently needed services to a free country. One of them was Habib Rahman, who studied under Gropius at the MIT in Boston, another Achyut Kanvinde from Harvard and Gautam Sarabhai, who worked with Wright in Taliesin. Thus the influence of the Bauhaus masters came to India for a second time, this time directly via their pupils, whose somewhat over-functionalistic interpretations were realised by Kanvinde in particular. But at the same time a new concrete Expressionism was developing in South America, in the work of for example Felix Candela or Oskar Niemeyer, based on the technical possibility of being able to bridge large spans. These impressive constructions stimulated young Indian architects to endow the rigid rationalism of the German teachers in America with fluent form. One of the most important pupils returning from the MIT in Cambridge/Boston in the 1950s was Charles Correa. He had worked under Minoru Yamasaki in Detroit, who later designed the World Trade Center in New York. Correa came back to India in 1958, at a time when the most important architect of the first half of the 20th century, Le Corbusier, had already realised his life’s greatest project in India. Le Corbusier was invited by Nehru in person in the early 1950s and built Chandigarh, the new capital of the state of Punjab. Le Corbusier’s visionary powers, which he proved in urban developments from the 1920s onwards, seemed to be precisely the right person to Nehru, who said that India needed “a slap in the face.” Working with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and the architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry, Le Corbusier realised the entire urban structure, designing himself the government building, the Capitol. His béton brut, the unrendered surfaces of the buildings, still showing the marks of the rough shuttering, and the expressive and sculptural effect made by solitaire monuments spread over a large area, came as something of a shock to the Indian architects, who had found a new hero for themselves from now on.

Le Corbusier’s messages became the new gospel for the next generation, who recognised a new intellectual dimension in them. Le Corbusier was commissioned to build more villas and a museum in . Here he had an Indian at his side who had already worked for him in Paris, Balkrishna Vitaldhas Doshi. It was Doshi who in the early 1960s got in touch with Louis I. Kahn in order to develop the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Kahn was impressed by the offer and realised the project during a period of over 13 years. Kahn was the next significant architect for India: his structures built on pure geometry to illustrate inherent order, his turn to a pictorial language for architecture that went beyond functionalism and the use of rough brick for the façade in order to express the nature of the material, added yet another dimension to Indian architects’ experience.

Charles Correa developed his work when these two towering 20th century masters were both building in India. His 1963 memorial for Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad, which is reminiscent of Kahn’s design for the Trenton Bath House, marks the beginning of his mature work. The most important buildings after that were his Kanchanjunga high-rise apartments in Mumbai, built from 1970 –1983, then the government building in Bhopal, 1980 – 1996 (see p. 26 – 93), and the art centre in Jaipur, 1986 – 1992 where he discovered the spiritual dimension of Indian thought and integrated it into his work. Correa is the most important representative of his generation and still India’s most significant contemporary architect. Alongside Doshi and Correa, Anant Raje is another major architect of this generation. Raje realised the Indian Institute buildings as Kahn’s right hand and added others in the spirit of Kahn. His work is clearly shaped by Kahn’s structures, but he interpreted them independently. Raj Rewal also belongs in this group. Educated in Delhi and London, he was influenced at an early stage by the Japanese Metabolists, but later found his own identity in India’s history, pursuing the concept of a Modernism based on tradition. His parliament library (see p. 42 – 49) is one of the outstanding Indian building projects of the last ten years.

The selection of architects from the younger generation introduced here does not claim to be complete or comprehensive within the limited scope of a publication of this kind. Architects who are not mentioned in any more detail here but have certainly made a significant contribution include Laurie Baker in Kerala whose life’s work follows economical, ecological and sustainable criteria in building and is devoted above all to people in lower income groups. Similar approaches come from architects like Anil Laul, S.K. Das or the “barefoot architects” in Rajasthan who work together with many people employing their craft skills in the construction process and who use only locally available materials. This book presents a varied spectrum of building types and architects with different approaches to illustrate current trends in Indian architecture, with aspects of ecology and sustainability playing an increasingly important part.

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Contemporary Architecture

Contemporary architecture of India – Chandigarh City Planning – Le corbusier

About le Corbusier:

  • Charles Edouard Jeanerette now popularly known as le Corbusier
  • Born on 6th of October’ 1887 at la Chaux de fonds in Swissjura mountains 4 kms from French border
  • He started working under contractor Perret, le Corbusier’s so called master
  • He as a child prepared himself for a manual occupation
  • He left his school at the age of 13½ yrs
  • Joined an art school later

An introduction to Chandigarh:

  • Since Punjab was divided into two parts, the capital was left in Pakistan therefore Punjab in India required new capital
  • Le Corbusier was approached by Punjab government and the prime minister of India
  • Chandigarh is a bold experiment in modern civic design
  • Chandigarh has provoked fresh thinking and in fact shown new way of life
  • Maxwell fry, Jane drew and Pierre Jeanerette were also involved in the team of architects
  • When le Corbusier assumed control of the Chandigarh project in 1951, however the design of the city had already been devised by the New York firm of Mayer, whittles, and glass who received a contract for the master plan  of Chandigarh in 1950

Albert mayer the master plan:

  • Mayer was the first one to get the Chandigarh project
  • Matthew Nowicki was invited to join the staff assembled to plan Chandigarh. His duties were to take the form of architectural control.
  • Mayer stated that he was trying to create something “that really applies to what we have talked about much but which has been at best done in a limited way in Radbubn, the greenbelt towns and baldwin hills.
  • The basic aim, stated Mayer, was a beautiful city.
  • The master plan which Albert Mayer produced for Chandigarh assumes a fan-shaped outline, spreading gently to fill the file the site between the two river beds.
  • The provincial govt. Buildings are located the upper edge of the city within a fork in one of the rivers, while the central business district occupies an area near the center. a curving network of main roads surrounds the residential superblocks, each of which contains a central area of parkland.
  • Two larger parks may be seen stretching through the city.
  • The flatness of the site allowed almost complete freedom in creating street layout and it is of interest to note that the overall pattern deliberately avoids a geometric grid in favor of a loosely curving system.
  • The death of Nowicki necessitated the selection of a new architect for Chandigarh.
  • It was the minister of planning who suggested le-Corbusier and who also recommended the inclusion of Pierre Jeanerette whom he termed a’’ good detail man.’’

Master plan

  • In 1951 it was given to le Corbusier
  • In Chandigarh le Corbusier system of self supporting neighborhood unit known as a sector  has worked very well
  • Sector which is introverted in character communicates only at 4 junctions with the adjoining neighborhood units
  • All the houses open up inside
  • Grid planning is done
  • Chandigarh planning was done in an manner that everything was easily clear about the routes and sectors
  • 7 v’s road system is used
  • The roads are classified as v1 ,v2 ,v3………V7
  • V1 connects Chandigarh to other cities

Plan of the city

  • V2 are the major avenues of the city e.g.  Madhya marg etc
  • V3 are the corridors streets for vehicular traffic only
  • V4…..v7 are the roads within the sectors
  • Chandigarh has been planned on the scientific principles and to apprise the coming generation of these principles
  • The main feature of this edict are  its-
    • Human scale
    • Self sufficient sectors
    • Roads system
    • Areas of special interest
    • Architectural control

Three disciplines

  • The discipline of money
  • Le Corbusier once remarked that India has the treasures of a proud culture, but her coffers are empty.” And throughout the project the desire for grandness was hampered by the need for strict economy.
  • In working up his designs, le Corbusier consulted the program for each building as given in the budget and then prepared the initial project.
  • The discipline of technology
  • Available in quantity, however, was good clay stone and sand, and, above all human labor.
  • The materials of which Chandigarh has been constructed are rough concrete in the capitol complex and the central business district and for most of the city, especially in housing, locally produced brick.
  • The discipline of climate
  • Besides the administrative and financial regulations there was a law of the sun in India.
  • The architectural problem consists; first to make shade, second to make a current of air[to ventilate],third to control hydraulics.

The sector

  • Taking Chandigarh as an example, we may see at once the democratic idea which allows us to devote an equal care to housing all classes of society to seek new social groupings, new patterns of education and public welfare, and made more possible by practical application of the scientific idea which through industrialism, gives us such benefits as piped water, electricity and cheap transport.
  • Each sector is designated by number, the capital complex being number 1,with the remaining sectors numbered consecutively beginning at the north corner of the city.
  • At present there are 30 sectors in Chandigarh, of which 24 are residential.
  • The sectors at the upper edge of the city are of abbreviated size.
  • In all type of housing ,partly because of the glazing expense, partly to keep out sun.
  • As the most economical and readily available material for building at Chandigarh was locally made brick.
  • This became the material of construction.
  • The flat roof was employed throughout in Chandigarh housing because of its usefulness as a sleeping area
  • 70% of the building would be private in all the sectors.
  • Residential lots ranging in dimensions from 75 sq. Yards to 5000 sq yards.
  • This is because the capitol complex is contained within the boundaries of sector 3 extended to its full dimensions.

Government housing

  • Le-Corbusier was responsible for the general outlines of the master plan and the creation of the monumental buildings, while Pierre Jeanerette, Maxwell fry and Jane drew were charged with the task of developing the neighborhood sectors with their schools, shopping bazaars, and the tracts of government housing.
  • In the program presented to the architects,13 categories of houses were specified, each corresponding to a level of government employment.
  • Small windows openings have been consistently employed
  • Chandigarh but is spread over an area of 114sq kms including Manimajra and Burail
  • The birth of Chandigarh has not influenced only the north west region but the whole country in the matters of architecture  and urban planning
  • Projects he handled were capitol complex, housing, museum, city plaza etc

The capitol complex

  • The area of the greatest symbolic significance in Chandigarh was the capitol complex , which in its final form was based on the design of a grate cross axis
  • The most important group of the buildings constituting the capitol- right, the parliament, left, in the background, the secretariat
  • In the foreground, the pool of the palace of justice
  • The artificial hills in the front of the secretariat have not been created and laid out in accordance with Corbusier’s conceptions
  • Although the scene is harmonious in effect, there are still missing the buildings that belong here ,such as , for instance, the towers of shadows

Site plan:

  • Here the secretariat building is treated as a horizontal platform like the plain of Chandigarh itself, carrying on its roof the provincial assembly hall rising in a parabolic arch, a form echoing the distant hills
  • As a  response to the sun, the capitol complex can be interpreted as an interlaced array of sun breakers
  • Inspiration from unite
  • It lies in the foot of shivalik hills just next to artificial lake
  • Governor’s palace was supposed to be in the site but the idea was abandoned
  • The capitol area was designed as the great pedestrian plaza with motor traffic separated into sunken trenches leading to parking areas
  • Although the site is very big, it is not designed with allowance for expansion

The secretariat:

  • The first design for the secretariat presents the building as a tall thin slab carrying a surface brise soleil divided by a central horizontal band
  • The design which was accepted established the building form as a long ,horizontal concrete slab
  • The secretariat, the longest building in Chandigarh, 254m long, and 42m high forms the administrative center, with ministerial offices grouped in the center and offices for employees arranged on either side
  • The building was completed in 1958
  • The building is composed of six  eight storey blocks separated by expansion joints
  • The central pavilion, block 4, contains the offices of the ministers
  • The rough concrete again interposes in the fenestration of the two main facades ; more than 2000 units of unique design
  • Approach to the building is through roadways below ground level to a large parking area  in front of the central block, and a floor is left open at this level to form an entrance hall
  • Block 1 and 2 rises directly from the ground
  • Block 3,4 and part of 5 face on the excavated area of the parking lot and have the lower storey open between pilotis
  • For the rest part of block 5 and whole of 6 the level goes till plaza height, and lower portion of these blocks are left open to a height of two storyes
  • The top of the building is developed as a roof garden containing the service blocks and cafeteria for employees
  • The plastic emphasis is given to the building by free standing exterior ramps enclosed in rough concrete walls
  • For supplementary communication within the building , each of six blocks is equipped with interior stairways and limited elevator service
  • Horizontal circulation is by means of a central corridors
  • For minister’s block the bay size is increased and the column is thickened

The high court

  • The high court formed a part as “ a great architectural venture using very poor materials and a labor force quite unused to modern building techniques
  • An entire structure has resulted in the use of double roof
  • The upper roof cantilevered out of the office block in the manner of parasol shading the lower roof
  • The space between the two roofs is left open to enable currents of air to move between the flat roof of the office block and the underside of the parasol roof which slopes towards center in the form of rows of arches
  • In the plan the building took the form of abbreviated l – shaped with long façade facing the capitol plaza to contain court rooms
  • The building is a rectilinear frame within which the interior functions are defined
  • The eight court rooms are identically expressed on the main façade and separated from the larger high court by a monumental columned entrance rising the height of the building
  • Building rises directly from the earth
  • The main façade is defined by a full height concrete brise soleil
  • The arch form is restricted to the underside  of the parasol roof
  • It is the visual drama of the piers rising sixty feet from the ground to meet the heavy outward thrust of the roof which creates the focal emphasis of the present plan
  • On the main façade the deep fixed concrete brise soleil gives a strong and scale less pattern to the building
  • It is the concrete screen which gives the main façade its overall unity
  • Behind the brise soleil , the windows of the court rooms are of fixed glass, but between are narrow vertical spaces containing shutters which open and close on hinges
  • It is noted that the orientation of the high court is such that the main façade faces north west , and this does not receive direct sunlight
  • The rough concrete of the building is treated in variety of manners for much of the surface including the underside of the parasol roof and the exterior side walls , the mass of sheet metal characterize the surface
  • In portions of the interior and on the ramps , wooden boards have been inserted within the metal forms to give the concrete surface the impress of their jointed pattern, while other surfaces, including those of massive entrance piers are finished with gunnite cement

Architectural features:

  • Parasol roof
  • Forming arches
  • Double roof
  • Gap left between
  • Two roofs
  • Colored massive pillars
  • Full height entrance
  • Double roof
  • Approached through roads
  • Rough concrete finished ramp
  • The entrance lobby is paved with whitish flag stone set in the rows of varying widths
  • New scheme for painting the columns and portico walls in bright contrasting colors
  • The inside wall to the left of the piers was to be black
  • The adjacent pillar painted green
  • The center pier would be yellow
  • The right hand pillar is red
  • And the remaining portico wall is primary blue
  • The graet entrance hall of the high court is also been found in lacking protection during the monsoon season
  • The narrow curving ramp at the end of the entrance hall, which forms the main vertical circulation is exposed
  • The horizontal circulation, consisting of open corridors on the rear facade ,is also ineffectively sheltered

The assembly hall:

  • The assembly was conceived as a rectilinear structure
  • It is square in plan with a monumental  portico facing the main plaza
  • On the lateral facades both the portico and the office block would be defined by solid end walls
  • The large chamber is in hyperbolic form of the cooling tower with an average thickness of 15 cms
  • The small council chamber are in rectilinear frame
  • The upper portion of the tower is extending above the roof line
  • An assembly chamber is 128 ft in diameter at its base and rises to 124 ft at its highest point
  • This tower was designed to insure the natural light, ventilation and proper acoustics
  • Of all buildings of the capitol complex , the assembly is the most intricate in plan
  • Separate circulation accommodation of all groups is provided
  • Employing a system of individual entrances, stairways, lifts and ramp a complete segregation of members is provided
  • There are two separate galleries for men and women in council chamber

Sector-17, Chandigarh:

  • The city center consists of different squares tied together by broad avenues.
  • At the present time, when this center is still devoid of any sort of vegetation, the unshaded open areas can be quite unpleasant.
  • This sector-17 is virtually uninhabited, but it is enlivened during the daytime by the many shops, bazaars, restaurant, cafes, banks and department stores.
  • There is doubt that at present the city center still looks like an experiment.
  • The urban circulation here is in sharp contrast to the ‘oriental’ bazaar streets, the narrow alleys full of noise and plunged in shadow.
  • Of all the  cities of India , only Chandigarh can claim to be an absolutely modern town , ”untouched by the tradition of the past,”  as Jawaharlal Nehru so aptly remarked .
  • The execution of the buildings for the city centre was assigned to different architects. Pierre jeanneret conscientiously supervised and organized the schemes determined by le Corbusier.
  • The plans can vary as required, but must respect a sufficiently large open surface along the facades as anti-glare protection.

Sukhna lake, Chandigarh

  • The club house- north of the capitol  no additional structures  were to be erected, in order  not to  impede  the view of the Himalaya.
  • This was an express condition laid down by le Corbusier.
  • The club house was however necessity.
  • Le Corbusier designed a complex lying 3 meters beneath road level, so that the house  is scarcely visible  from the  promenade.
  • The causeway- Chandigarh is surrounded by the rivers Patiali and Manimajra, which carry water only during the monsoon season.
  • The reinforced concrete construction is simple and plain, and its severe lines harmonize entirely with the natural setting.
  • At all other times of the year they are dry.
  •  During the hot months of may and June, enormous amounts of dust  used to blow into the city.
  • Trees and shrubs were planted as a protective zone along these rivers, so that the city is now free of the inconvenience of this flying sand.
  • One of these rivers has been dammed.
  • In 1955 the water boulevard was extended in the shape of a causeway, or dam, the retaining wall being more than
  • 20 meters high and 4 kilometers long.
  • This dam, with its width on top of 24meters, thus yielded a promenade.
  • The artificial lake created behind the dam has modified the climate of the city.

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Contemporary Architecture

Influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on younger generation architects

A research on the Influence of Frank Lloyd’s Influence on younger generation architects. This was also a part of a class presentation for History of Modern Architecture class. The pattern followed is a brief description of an architect and then the influence on Frank Lloyd Wright on him. Do go through the slideshow at the end.

Influence on Dutch Architects

  • Hendrik Petrus Berlage
  • Gerrit Rietveld
  • Robert van ‘t Hoff

Hendrik Petrus Berlage:

  • Born in Amsterdam in 1856
  • Considered the “Father of Modern architecture” in the Netherlands
  • The intermediary between the Traditionalists and the Modernists
  • Berlage’s theories inspired most Dutch architectural groups of the 1920s, including the Traditionalists, the Amsterdam School, De Stijl and the New Objectivists.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence on Berlage:

  • A visit Berlage made to the U.S. in 1911 greatly affected his architecture.
  • From then on the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright would be a significant influence.
  • Lectures he gave when returned to Europe would help to disseminate Wright’s thoughts in Germany.
  • 1913 Den Haag (ZH) .Influences of Wright’s work are present in the design of this house in the form of the projecting roofs.
  • 1927-1935 Den Haag (ZH): Municipal Museum. In the style of Frank Lloyd Wright

Gerrit Rietveld

  • A Dutch furniture designer and architect.
  • One of the principal members of the Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl
  • Strongly influenced by Charles Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Gerrit Rietveld:

  • Rietveld Schröder House. His love for basic geometry was greatly influenced by Wright. Other influences in this specific case include:
    •Breaking the box
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on De Stijl:
  • The social and economic circumstances of the time formed an important source of inspiration for their theories, and their ideas about architecture were heavily influenced by Berlage and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Robert van ‘t Hoff and Frank Lloyd Wright:
  • In 1913 van ‘t Hoff was given a copy of a German translation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth Portfolio by his father.
  • This made a profound impression and in June 1914 he travelled to the United States to see Wright’s work in person, visiting the Unity Temple, Taliesin, Midway Gardens, the Larkin Administration Building and Wright’s suburban houses in Oak Park, Illinois.
  • Van ‘t Hoff and Wright discussed collaborating on a project for an art gallery on Long Island, New York that van ‘t Hoff had become involved with through his relationship with Augustus John, but the project did not progress and van ‘t Hoff returned to Europe.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Van’t Hoff:
  • Van ‘t Hoff’s first work on returning from the United States was the Villa Verloop – a summer house in Huis ter Heide whose design bore the unmistakable influence of Wright’s Prairie Houses.
  • The Villa Henny:It was a highly idealistic and experimental house in both design and execution.One of the earliest houses to be built entirely out of reinforced concrete.
  • The Villa Henny made full use of the aesthetic freedom this presented with a flat roof, overhangs, receding walls and a highly geometrical outline that presented an unambiguously modern profile compared to the rustic naturalism of his earlier designs.

Willem Marinus Dudok:

  • Willem Dudok was born in Amsterdam in 1884
  • Dudok’s early style grew out of the Amsterdam School
  • List of major buildings / works:Public Baths, Hilversum, 1921, Abattoir, Hilversum, 1923, Dutch Hostel, Paris,1926-38, Town Hall, Hilversum, 1928-30, Bilenkauf Store,Rotterdam,1928-30, Vondel School, Hilversum, 1929.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Dudok:

  • Dudok borrowed extensively from Frank Lloyd Wright and the American Prairie School. He utilized the brick architecture and the dramatic asymmetrical massing of geometrical forms common to this style.
  • The overhanging eaves and other elements of his landmark City Hall were clearly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright

Mies Van Der Rohe:

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of Modern architecture.
  • He created an influential 20th century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Van Der Rohe:

  • After 1923, Mies’s style shifted, and he came heavily under the influence of Dutch neo-plasticism and Russian suprematism.
  • The former influence, along with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, drove Mies to experiment with independent walls and ceilings arranged in an open, pin-wheeling manner.
  • The latter influence drove Mies to consider the reduction and abstraction of these elements into dynamic and contrapuntal compositions of pure shapes in space.
  • Mies was enthralled with the free-flowing spaces of inter-connected rooms which encompass their outdoor surroundings as demonstrated by the open floor plans of the American Prairie Style work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • These experiments culminated in one of Mies van der Rohe’s most significant works, the German Pavilion built for the Barcelona World Exposition in 1929.

Walter Gropius:

  • A German architect
  • Founder of the Bauhaus School
  • Along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Gropius

  • The plan of the Cologne building was axially designed in the Beaux-Arts tradition, but the major influence was predominantly that of Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Gropius and Meyer were influenced by Wright’s style especially in the horizontality and the wide overhanging eaves, but also in the symmetry, the corner pavilions, and the whole spirit of Wright’s concept.

Le Corbusier:

  • Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International style.
  • He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities.

Influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on Corbusier:

  • The plan and interiors of the Schwob house in Switzerland closely resemble that of Frank Lloyd Wright. Le Corbusier’s notion of Free plan was greatly influenced by Wright.

The salient features of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Design that inspired the architects to follow include:

  • His structural systems
  • Horizontality
  • Cantilevers
  • Breaking the box
  • Furniture designs
  • Fluidity of spaces
  • And last but not the least “Organic architecture”

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