Maristella Casciato: Introducing Pierre Jeanneret — architect, designer, educator — in Chandigarh (Mellon Lecture 18 November 2010, Canadian Centre for Architecture)

‪Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier arrive at the dedication of Chandigarh, March 1955‬

Maristella CasciatoCCA Senior Mellon Fellow and Professor of Architectural History, School of Architecture “Aldo Rossi” at Cesena, University of Bologna, speaks on the pivotal contribution of Pierre Jeanneret to the construction of Chandigarh, India:

The Swiss born architect Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967) is mostly known to the public as the cousin of Le Corbusier. He was associated to the office from 1922 to 1940 and fully participated in designing all major works and competitions. This seminar will present “another” Pierre, without ignoring his previous seminal experience as chef d’atelier at the office in rue de Sévres. My focus will shift to a continent far away from Western culture, i.e. India, specifically after the end of the British rule. I will examine Pierre Jeanneret’s pivotal contribution to the construction of Chandigarh, the new capital of Punjab and the first modern city after Indian independence. 

I will attempt to explain the reasons that convinced Pierre Jeanneret to become the architect coordinator of the Chandigarh project, and I will retrace the steps of his full immersion into Indian culture without betraying his education as a modern architect in Western countries.
This seminar will take out of the shadows Jeanneret’s skill as designer, planner, technician, manager, and educator facing the construction of Indian post-colonial new architecture.

the full lecture is here

Source: http://www.cca.qc.ca/system/items/8449/original/Mellon20-MC.pdf?1331821448
Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Mellon Lecture 18 November 2010

The CCA Mellon Foundation Senior Fellowship Program was established in 2001 to encourage advanced research in architectural history and thought. With the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, distinguished scholars of international repute are appointed Mellon Senior Fellows during residencies of one to eight months at the Study Centre. As part of their residency, Mellon Senior Fellows deliver a public lecture at the CCA.

Chairs by Pierre Jeanneret

Source: http://mondo-blogo.blogspot.co.il/2012/01/pierre-jeannerets-house-chandigarh.html


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi / Satyagraha in South Africa

At last, Gandhi's second autobiographic book is now available in Hebrew.
Published originally in 1928,  Satyagraha in South Africa recounts Gandhi's formative 21 years in South Africa. Gandhi arrived to South Africa in 1893 as a young lawyer on the invitation of a wealthy Indian Muslim businessman with the purpose of helping him negotiating a minor commercial conflict. When he left South Africa in 1914 and headed to India, he was already  known all over the world as Mahatma (Great Soul) Gandhi, a national and spiritual leader.

The Hebrew edition was translated by Matan Kaminer, a former refusenik, political activist and anthropologist, prefaced by Yohanan Grinshpon from the Hebrew University, author of many books about Gandhi and India and post-faced by Shimon Lev, an artist and scholar, author of the book Soulmates about Gandhi's friendship with the Jewish architect Herman Kallenbach. The book was published by Babel, in the new non-fiction series directed by Sharon Rotbard.
An English online edition of the book is available here.

Manifesto for Free Architecture

(first published on 14 August 2012)

Free Architecture is architecture made for Free. Free architecture is made by free architects, by architects who works for free.

In fact, this is not a new idea. Most of the architects work most of their time for free. When they are young, they work as apprentices and interns; when they grow up, not only they work for free but they even invest huge amount of money on lost competition entries and phantom projects. In any international competition, for only one winning project (and one paid architect) there would be dozens and sometime hundreds of architectural offices who worked for free and very often even pay (collaborators, consultants, models, 3d animation, and that besides the admittance fees and the price paid for the program pdf file) for the privilege to work for free. 
That may represent efforts of a much larger number of young people that over-worked themselves for months, days and nights, for the only sake of satisfying one's - not always their - ambition to be chosen to be paid for his work. In some cases, doing free architecture for lost competitions became a specialty of certain practices. Financially, sometimes the winners should not be envied neither, as the winning project only enables the office to lose more money for a longer period of time. 
Free work is of course done massively on a daily basis in any private architectural practice in order to get new clients or to keep the old ones.

The actual economical regime of architecture is governed by the idea of an architectural paid practice but in reality enslaves so many talented professionals and make them work for free at the service of the ones who promise that they can afford to build (and therefore to make them work for free). Never in the history of architecture so many architects have been working so hard, doing so much unnecessary work  for so few and sometimes even ill-interested people and very often for no-one. In other words, most of the architectural work that is being done today is done for nothing.
This had disastrous effects on the morality of the architect and on his position as a social actor. Hoping to be paid, he cannot speak for himself anymore nor for the public, but for the one who pays. An architect's word is today as trustworthy as that of a lawyer or a businessman. This regime has been corrupting the whole profession as a social body turning it into a vain, ridiculous star-system and is actually corrupting the whole environment all over the world, populating it with a mass of empty, expensive and useless "landmarks".

This regime has also decreased the number of people that are served today by architecture. If the architects work only for the few happy ones that can pay or that can say that they can pay, there would be a much greater number of people who even when they are in great need for architecture cannot afford to pay nor to promise to pay an architect and therefore will not be served by architecture. In fact, the vast majority of constructions on earth is done without architects. Today, architecture is a luxury.

The choice is simple: it is between doing architecture for nothing and doing architecture for free. If you can afford doing architecture for nothing, do architecture for free: Do architecture, do not take money.