Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh

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Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh
Palace of Assembly Chandigarh 2007.jpg
Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh is located in Chandigarh
Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh
Location within Chandigarh
General information
Country India
Construction started1951
InauguratedApril 15, 1964
Design and construction
ArchitectLe Corbusier
Official nameThe Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement
DesignatedJuly 17, 2016
Reference no.1321rev

The Palace of Assembly is a legislative assembly building in Chandigarh, India. It was designed by modernist architect Le Corbusier.[1][2] It is part of the Capitol Complex, which includes the Legislative Assembly, Secretariat and High Court.[3] The Palace of Assembly features a circular assembly chamber, a forum for conversation and transactions, and stair-free circulation.[4]

The building was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.[5][6]


View of the building

After the partition of Punjab in 1947 following the independence of India, the divided Punjab required a new capital to replace Lahore, which was now in Pakistan. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru commissioned Le Corbusier to build a new city for the capital of Punjab. This city would become Chandigarh. Nehru desired that the city's design be "unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation's faith in the future". Subsequently, Corbusier and his team designed not just a large assembly and high court building, but all major buildings in the city, down to the door handles in public offices.[1] Construction of the Palace of Assembly began in 1951 and ended 11 years later in 1962. The building was inaugurated on 15 April, 1964.[7]

Today, many of the buildings in Chandigarh are considered modernist masterpieces, though most are in a state of neglect. In 2010, chairs from the assembly building were auctioned in London. A diplomatic attempt to stop the sale failed, as the items were "condemned" and deemed unfit for use.[1]



Entrance with set of doors painted by Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier wanted to include an assembly door. He consulted with Prime Minister Nehru for symbols that could be depicted on the door to represent the new India and its modern vision. Nehru, in turn, entrusted Le Corbusier to invent them himself.[8]

The door is adorned with vibrant colours and is divided into upper and lower halves. The upper half depicts man's relationship with the cosmos and includes imagery representing solstices, lunar eclipses and the Equinox. The lower half is populated with animals and natural forms. A desert depicts the original order of the Earth, while greenery represents the Garden Of Eden. The door also displays a river, trees, bulls and turtles, and the proverbial Tree of Knowledge in the centre of the door bears fruits of knowledge.[8] The nearly 25 square foot door, with its enamelled panels, was airlifted from Paris.[citation needed]

This entrance is opened on certain ceremonial occasions.[8]

Interior layout[edit]

Le Corbusier believed that "architecture is circulation", and the Palace of Assembly is designed to encourage the movement of people and ideas. High ceilings and narrow columns make the space feel expansive, and ramps replace stairs to provide fluid transitions between levels. The General Assembly itself is circular - a literal interpretation of Le Corbusier's belief - and is off-centre within the space, challenging neoclassical architecture's focus on organization.[9]



  1. ^ a b c Burke, Jason (7 March 2011). "Le Corbusier's Indian masterpiece Chandigarh is stripped for parts | Art and design". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Conserving Le Corbusier's heritage comes into focus". The Times Of India. 23 March 2004. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  3. ^ Sandhu, Khushboo (19 June 2010). "Capitol Complex, as Le Corbusier wanted it, remains incomplete". Indian Express. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  4. ^ "AD Classics: Palace of the Assembly / Le Corbusier". ArchDaily. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  5. ^ Tile: UNESCO approves all 3 Indian nominations for heritage tag, Publisher: India Today news, Published on: 18 July 2016, Accessed on: 18 July 2016
  6. ^ "Four sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  7. ^ Gans, Deborah; Corbusier, Le (2000). The Le Corbusier Guide. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 9781568981192.
  8. ^ a b c "The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum". Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  9. ^ The Le Corbusier Guide, p. 171, at Google Books

Coordinates: 30°45′26″N 76°48′24″E / 30.7573°N 76.8066°E / 30.7573; 76.8066