French ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler says that the Capitol Complex making it to the list of World Heritage Sites will help preserve the city’s exceptional architectural heritage. He tells HT’s Arvind Chhabra that the city’s modernity has withstood the test of time.
Your first thoughts on heritage status to the Capitol Complex?
I was in Chandigarh only last week and was amazed and impressed by this spectacular city. I am particularly happy the magnificent heritage of Le Corbusier is now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is an important achievement and a fantastic success. It is also a symbol of our dynamic cultural relationship with India.
What does this status mean for Chandigarh?
Chandigarh was built according to the visionary plans of Le Corbusier to reflect modern India. This modernity that has withstood the test of time, this exemplarity, are emphasised by this nomination as a World Heritage Site.
What’s your impression about the Capitol Complex?
Chandigarh has a particular significance in the work of Le Corbusier as it offered him the opportunity to realise his dream: build a whole new city. The Capitol Complex is one of his most spectacular works.
What does this mean for Le Corbusier’s legacy?
This nomination acknowledges the fundamental importance of his work. Le Corbusier invented new forms and new principles and models for living.
France is a partner in developing Chandigarh as a smart city. Where does the Capitol Complex with the heritage tag fit into the Chandigarh smart city project?
France has a close and special relationship with Chandigarh. Prime Minister Georges Pompidou visited the city shortly after its construction in 1965 and since then, France has maintained strong ties with Chandigarh.
With Puducherry and Nagpur, Chandigarh is a flagship city for our partnership with India to develop cutting-edge projects in renewable energy, urban transport and sustainable development.