AD Classics: Palace of the Assembly / Le Corbusier

© Nicholas Iyadurai

One of ‘s most prominent buildings from , the Palace of the Assembly in Chandigarh boasts his major architectural philosophies and style. Le Corbusier‘s five points of architecture can be found within the design from its open plan to the view of the Himalayan landscape. The program features a circular assembly chamber, a forum for conversation and transactions, and stair-free circulation. More information and images of the Palace of the Assembly after the break.

© Nicholas Iyadurai

The first of Le Corbusier’s architectural ideals is the use of pilotis to lift the structure off of the ground. Reinforced concrete columns are utilized in a grid throughout the Palace of the Assembly and are slightly altered to raise a large swooping concrete form high above the entrance. This form represents the second point of Le Cobusier’s list– a free facade. Pilotis allow the form to express the grandiose release of space precisely as Corbusier intended. The other various facades of the building also bestow the free facade via brise-soleil formed from the golden ratio.

© Nicholas Iyadurai

Le Corbusier’s desire for views is then apparent from all facades. The sun-shading along the offices provides a frame for inhabitants into the surrounding site while the portico opens to the adjacent landscape and the distant Himilayas.

© Nicholas Iyadurai

Inside, the Palace of the Assembly houses an open plan structured by the grid of reinforced concrete columns. Again, this structural pattern allows Le Corbusier to manipulated the program freely and place offices and other private programming along the outside of the plan and leave the center open for public use. Intersecting that open space, is the circular assembly chamber that is contradictory in form to producing good acoustics. On top of the building lies an accessible roof supported by the pilotis. Providing usable space on the roof of a structure complies with Le Corbusier’s fifth ideal of architecture by giving occupants vertical means of connecting to nature and compensating for the habitat removed by the building.

Architect: Le Corbusier
Location: Chandigarh, India
Project Year: 1953-1963
References: W. Boesiger, H Girsberger
Photographs: Nicholas Iyadurai

Cite: Metcalf, Taylor. "AD Classics: Palace of the Assembly / Le Corbusier" 10 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 16 Sep 2014. <>


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    At first glance this looked like one of those abandoned buildings in Russia. No people and no maintenance.

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    interesting to read the above comments… these buildings, in fact, are amazing. Wonderful pieces of architecture. I agree LC failed miserably in the urban design part. Some of these pictures were taken 20 years back during the terrorism years in Punjab and so, the buildings look kinda dilapidated. However, they are being used on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the square, envisaged as an urban square, is not used as one. Also, unfortunately, most of the government buildings are NOT being maintained at all.

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    wondering if anyone could offer up any insight into le corbusier’s use of ornamentation in this building? although it is in small amount, i am noticing his use of aperture and the decoration on the door. are there any others i am missing or could learn about?

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    In my point of view, by creating this building Le Corbusier did a great contribution to modern style architecture in India, since he was able to combine ideas from Indian nationalism, modernism, Indian culture and religion and apply them when designing this building. For example, he incorporated Gandhi’s idea of handcrafted objects, such as making beton brut, which is why he gave the concrete a rustic look. He also used cooling towers of the Sabarmati Power Plant in Ahmedabad to design the hyperbolic shell to symbolized technology, which also paid tribute to the Prime Minister Nehru-who was one of the modern leaders in India. Over all, he combined all these ideas to balance out the design.

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