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New Trade Paper
Available March 2014
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This title in other editions
Casablanca and Chandigarh: How Architects, Experts, Politicians, International Agencies, and Citizens Negotiate Modern Planningby Maristella Casciato
Synopses & Reviews
This richly illustrated volume invites us to think afresh about urban life and the modern city by offering images and analyses of two very different but complementary contemporary cities: the planned Indian city of Chandigarh and the ancient metropolis of Casablanca—the ancient North African harbor town developed into a modern metropolis by Michel Ecochard and a team of young French and Moroccan architects after World War II. Countering the dominant view of modern urbanism that values avant-garde ideas originating in the West over developments in non-Western regions, the book offers a more nuanced approach to the history of the modern city, and to the relationship between local knowledge and imported ideas in the rapid globalization that followed World War II.
Ultimately, by focusing on the design and inhabitation of the cities public spaces and housing, the book locates the essence of the modern city in its ordinary fabric and everyday life—which shifts our understanding of architecture and planning, enabling us to see it as a collective work that is necessarily the result of negotiation among a variety of actors. Chandigarh Casablanca is published to coincide with an exhibition at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal.
Chandigarh Casablanca documents two different but complementary urban realities that have played a fundamental role in the imagination, the definition, and the redefinition of the 20th-century modern city: On one hand Chandigarh—planned by a team consisting of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maxwell Fry, Jane B. Drew, and Indian architects and planners—and on the other Casablanca—conceived by Michel Ecochard and a team of young French and Moroccan architects. The contemporary gaze shifts here from the symbolic use of architecture in the construction of monumental masterpieces to the formation of public space, housing, and social facilities. Considering the objective to present a contemporary perspective on these cities that counteracts their reading as exported urbanism”, the book includes commissioned work by Yto Barrada (born in Paris and educated in Tangier, Morocco) and Takashi Homma (Japanese), two non-western photographers especially engaged in investigating everyday life conditions in urban scenarios. The study of modern urbanism has traditionally ascribed universal value to avant-garde ideas originating in Europe and North America, and seen developments in non-Western regions as derivations from those original models.
Chandigarh Casablanca aims to decenter this dominant view and to contribute to a new geography of the modern city that is attentive to its entangled multiplicities and to the productive interactions that took place across cultures and borders. In a broader perspective, Chandigarh Casablanca fosters fresh discussions on the engagement of local particularity with the universal in the framework of the growing economic and political cooperation promoted by the United Nations and other global organizations in the decades following World War II.
About the Author
Tom Avermaete is professor of architecture at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands.
Maristella Casciato is associate director of research at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.
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