Rereading Our Recent Past: Notes on Chandigarh and New Gourna





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


This article focuses on two iconic architectural works that dominate the ongoing intellectual discourse on conserving our recent past — the City of Chandigarh in India designed by Le Corbusier, and the Village of New Gourna in Egypt designed by Hassan Fathy. By examining the differential between their originating visions and their legacies that were shaped over more than five decades through many unforeseen circumstances and unaccounted consequences, this article provokes deeper reflections on our modern heritage and on the forces and entities that should decide its future.

How to Cite

Bharne, V. (2014). Rereading Our Recent Past: Notes on Chandigarh and New Gourna. Docomomo Journal, (50), 72–79.







Author Biography

Vinayak Bharne, University of Southern California

(b. Goa, India). MSc in Architecture (1998), University of Southern California. Los Angeles based practicing urban designer and planner, adjunct associate professor of urbanism at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and at the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. He is the author of The Emerging Asian City, Rediscovering the Hindu Temple (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), and Zen Spaces & Neon Place (Applied Research & Design, 2014).


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HASSAN, Fathy, Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1976.

AHMAD, Hamid, Hassan Fathy and Continuity in Islamic Arts and Architecture: The Birth of a New Modern, Cairo, The American University in Cairo Press, 2010.

LARA, Iskander, “The Village of New Gourna”, 9 June 2011. Available online at:

PANAYIOTA, Pyla, “The Many Lives of New Gourna: Alternative Histories of a Model Community and their Current Significance”, The Journal of Architecture, 14:6, 2009, p. 715–730.

SUSAN, Sachs, “Honoring a Visionary if Not His Vision”, New York Times, E:1, 4 April 2000.

JAMES, Steele, An Architecture for People: The Complete Works of Hassan Fathy, New York, Whitney Library of Design, 1997.

HANA, Taragan, “Architecture in Fact and Fiction: The Case of New Gourna Village in Upper Egypt”, Muquarnas, 16, 1999, p. 169–178.

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World Monuments Fund, “Hassan Fathy’s New Gourna: Past, Present, Future”, October 2010. Accessed online at: