Chandigarh, the capital that could have been

 All images © Shaun Fynn

All images © Shaun Fynn

Chandigarh has been described as one of the greatest experiments in urban planning history. Photographer and Chandigarh resident Shaun Fynn was granted unprecedented access to capture the essence of this unique metropolis and get a greater understanding of the architect’s vision for the city.

Following India’s independence in 1947, the creation of Chandigarh was the manifestation of prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s dream of a new capital city for a newly independent nation. Designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, this city built from scratch in the north-west of India has been described as one of the greatest experiments in urban planning history.

Le Corbusier’s task was to build a monumental modernist vision for the future of urban living, marking a significant shift away from the architecture of the British colonial tradition. Last year, six decades after its official founding, Chandigarh – the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana – was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Now, 70 years since India's independence, a new book of photography by Shaun Flynn, a designer and photographer who moves between New York and Chandigarh, shows Chandigarh as it has rarely been seen before. 

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Fynn was granted unprecedented access - including government buildings that have never before been photographed – to get the root of Le Corbusier’s master plan, casting a light on how it has shaped contemporary urban life in Chandigarh today. His captivating images of the city and its inhabitants reveal how the realities of everyday life in Chandigarh interact with the poetry of the architect’s vision for this metropolis.


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Chandigarh Revealed: Le Corbusier's City Today by Shaun Fynn, with a foreword by Maristella Casciato, is available to buy here (Princeton Architectural Press, £45)