Fry and Drew: Current Research

Chandigarh, India

The city of Chandigarh in India has received considerable interest since its design and construction in the early 1950s, mainly due to the appointment of the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier as a member of the design team. As one of the Modern Movement’s founding fathers Le Corbusier became the figurehead of the project, despite the involvement of other leading architects – Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew and Pierre Jeanneret – to undertake the bulk of the design work and oversee the city’s construction. Emphasis is traditionally placed on Le Corbusier’s three monumental capitol buildings, rather than the more everyday (yet no less significant) work of the remaining neighbourhood blocks (or ‘sectors’).

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The Legislative Assembly, Sector 1 Capitol Complex, Chandigarh. Le Corbusier.

Recent scholarship has begun to critically examine the planning of the city and to introduce the other members of the design team. Iain Jackson has written a paper that attempts to assess the first housing in Chandigarh designed by Fry and Drew for Sector-22.

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Sector 22 Housing, Chandigarh. Jane Drew.

The paper considers the influences behind their planning method and housing typologies, with particular focus on the notions of ‘neighbourhood planning’. The paper argues that Fry’s work with Thomas Adams from the 1920s is of particular importance to Sector-22’s layout, which was further informed by Drew’s studies published immediately after the Second World War. Finally, their housing plans are considered, along with the contributions of their Indian colleagues – an important group who have largely been ignored in previous academic studies of the city. The full article is available to view here.

Images taken during a TAG visit, April 2012 © Jessica Holland.

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