Corbusier was a perfectionist: Alumnus

Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Dr Veena Garella, a first-batch student of the Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) in 1961, still remembers her interaction with Le Corbusier, the creator of Chandigarh, who told her that to be an architect, one needed to wear a 16-pocket jacket. She remembers clearly that he himself was wearing one at that time.

Speaking on the sidelights of the golden jubilee celebrations of the CCA, Dr Varella said she had met Le Corbusier when he had come to inaugurate the college. Dr Garella knew a little French. This gave her some time with the legendary figure in the world of architecture. Her batch of 1961, naturally, is the toast of the entire gathering.

She said Le Corbusier explained her about the utility of each pocket separately. He had assigned a distinct place to different tools used by a planner, including his pen, pencil, rulers, thread and even spectacles.

She remembered that he would say, “Always remember the number 16 to tally with the number of tools needed before commencing your job.” The master planner would explain the utility of each pocket. In fact, there was a detailed planning involved even in keeping the tools specifically in different pockets. There was a flow in the manner in which a workman could carry his job in case he had planned his pocket layout, she said.

She was just one among over 100 odd ex-students who managed to reach the college. For the gathering, it was largely a trip down the memory lane; about the times they shared; and how their alma mater had helped them reach places of eminence in different fields.

A professor at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, fondly recalled her first day at the college when she met the master architect. “He was very clear in his ideas. He explained the entire concept of the city point by point like a small stream getting together along the journey from the mountain of wisdom to take the form of a river of knowledge,” she recalled.

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