Photographer Roberto Conte captures Chandigarh’s iconic modernist buildings

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte

Photographer Roberto Conte has captured the geometric shapes of Le Corbusier‘s weathered concrete buildings at Chandigarh‘s in his latest series.

Conte’s images showcase the clean silhouettes of the buildings found in the modernist utopia, from the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage site of the Capitol Complex to lesser-known examples of Le Corbusier’s design.

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte
Le Corbusier’s Palace of Assembly is one of the concrete building’s in the Capitol Complex

“With this project I want to give both an updated view of the current conditions of some iconic buildings of the history of architecture, and show the public that Chandigarh is also a lot more than the famous Capitol Complex, in terms of architectures and complexity,” Conte told Dezeen.

The capital of the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana is French architect’s largest project.

Among the structures captured by Conte are Le Corbusier’s High Court and its vibrant coloured walls, Pierre Jeanneret‘s circular, twisted Sukhna Boating Tower, and the intriguing light patterns of Le Corbusier’s Tower of Shadows.

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte
Tower of Shadows is another Le Corbusier design

Conte photographed the buildings at quiet times, putting the emphasis on the architecture rather than its surroundings.

“I checked the position of the buildings beforehand in order to have a better idea about the best possible time of the day for each architecture, according to the current season,” said Conte, who is based in Milan.

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte
Conte captured the colourful walls of Chandigarh’s High Court

“I tend to avoid the presence of people, even if in India, of course, it’s harder than other countries,” he added.

“In most cases it has been enough to wait some time in order to find a view where the architecture was the clear subject of the image.”

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte
The Sukhna Boating Tower has a twisting concrete ramp around it

Conte has spent years taking photos of modernist architecture all over the world.

“Chandigarh is absolutely one of the most attractive places for a photographer like me,” he said.

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte
The Open Hand is a monument by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh

“All in all, Chandigarh – exactly like Brasilia – is a planned city whose masterplan was organised by one of the most important architects of the 20th century.”

“The fact that it’s located in such a particular context like the Indian one made it even more interesting to me,” he added.

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte
Flats for the Members of Legislative Assembly were designed by Pierre Jeanneret

Chandigarh was built after India was violently partitioned in 1947. Lahore was assigned to Pakistan and the Indian side of Punjab needed a new capital.

The city was created by Le Corbusier, Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret and British architects Jane Drew and Edward Maxwell Fry. It is home to iconic designs including Aditya Prakash’ Neelam Theatre.

Chandigarh photographed by Roberto Conte
Pierre Jeanneret designed the Gandhi Bhawan centre

Chandigarh is designed in a grid system and was one of the first planned cities in India.

Roberto Conte started photographing in 2006 and initially focused on Milan’s industrial ruins. He has previously documented post-war Soviet architecture in Georgia and photographed Edoardo Tresoldi’s Gharfa pavilion in Riyadh.

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