The Capitol Complex conceived by Le Corbusier consists of the Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly, the High Court and the ‘Open Hand’ monument – the symbol of Chandigarh which was completed during his time. To this day, Le Corbusier’s vision for the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh remains incomplete – and among those unfinished elements is the Museum of Knowledge.
How does one raise the bar from where Le Corbusier left? And how does one do that without aping the master? The capitol complex was a metaphor of the human being employed in plan – the ‘head’ contained the capitol complex, the ‘heart’ the commercial centre, and the ‘arms’, which were perpendicular to the main axis, had the academic and leisure facilities. The proposed Museum of Knowledge honours Corbusier’s vision by showcasing the existing vestiges of the capitol complex by creating vantage points and visual connections. These landmark structures are thus included as part of the Museum and metaphorically form the main collection of the museum. The plan incorporates Le Corbusier’s principles of light, space and greenery which are still prevalent as of today.
This proposal builds upon and reimagines Le Corbusier’s Five Points of Architecture. This forms the basis for our qualitative program for the site. In this reimagined adaptation of the principles the structure of the building has been pushed below ground allowing for the site surface to be free of structure and double up as a park allowing it to extend itself and be a part of the public realm. The structure is supported by pilotis/columns – which gives opportunity for free design of the ground floor plan. All four sides of full height glazing allows for light to filter in a controlled manner and being underground there are open to sky courtyards and slits within the roof garden that provide additional opportunities for light to permeate.
Le Corbusier’s master plan for Chandigarh was designed keeping in mind the socio-economic conditions and living habits of people. Similarly a Museum of Knowledge in the present times would not be complete if it did not consider the current habits of the people. This proposal gives the power to the people to design and choreograph their own walk through the museum. A non-linear narrative with multiple opportunities to enter and exit rooms gives the user the authority and freedom to move through the space at their own pace. Areas both large and small have been designed to allow for flexibility of programming of exhibits. Transition zones have been interspersed with courtyards and open plazas to provide for break out spaces and moments to pause. Areas within the museum and around have been generously devoted to provide for gathering spaces to encourage people to come spend time at the museum, attend workshops or head to the park with a book and read without any inhibitions.