The Getty Foundation, USA, has awarded a grant of $1.3 lakh (around Rs 80 lakh) to Panjab University for the conservation of Gandhi Bhavan.
The grant has been provided under the philanthropic initiative 'Keeping It Modern', which is focused on conserving the twentieth century architecture. Welcoming the grant awarded through a juried competition, PU vice-chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover said it was a matter of pride for the varsity to become the first institute in India to receive it.
Gandhi Bhavan was designed by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret, cousin of Le Corbusier, who is also credited with developing a modern architectural vocabulary in Chandigarh and India.
The three-winged structure that was built in 1962 is considered an iconic example of modern architecture. Its abstracted lotus form represents Gandhian ideals, standing in a pool of water amid landscaped gardens. The building houses a library containing several volumes on Gandhi's life and teachings besides an auditorium with a seating capacity for 250 persons and a committee room.
The grant comes at a crucial time, when the city is vying for the world heritage status for the Capitol Complex, and thus conservation of modern heritage buildings has to be carried out.
A dedicated website showcasing the conservation and planning of Gandhi Bhavan will soon be launched to disseminate project information alongside details of activities carried out for utilisation of the grant.
The varsity will get technical support from the Development and Research Organisation for Nature, Arts and Heritage, Gurgaon, and the Indian Institute of Technology, IIT, besides other specialised national experts.