About this set

LE CORBUSIER 1887-1965


Part 1. Houses. Apartments, Hostels built before 1940. Le Corbusier was, during his lifetime, "the doyen idealistic conscience and chief propagandist of Modern architecture". (Russell Walden). Starting life as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, he adopted the pseudonym in 1920 by which he was always known. The first phase of his work was characterised by his abstract planar language of the 1920's culminating in such heroic monuments as the Pavilion Suisse (images 43-47) and the Villa Savoie (the Villa Savoie -- Poissy, 1929-31 -- and the Villa La Roche-Jeanneret -- Paris 1923-25 -- are not included in this image set. They feature in the image set Twentieth Century Houses Series 1 q.v.). Images 1-58

Part 2. Houses, Apartments, Hostels built after 1940. Le Corbusier's answer to the industrialisation of housing was Purism. The final result was purely symbolic of first-machine-age architecture. He had always wanted to build a steel building with exactitude but the post-war French economy restricted him to working in re-inforced concrete using cheap untrained labour. With the Unité d'habitation at Marseilles he launched his Modulor proportional system as well as very many new ideas about the great gains, in terms of space, light and greenery, and general well-being that could be won by increasing the density of housing units. A house can be a palace or a palace a house, he argued: it is a question of quality rather than degree. And a house design can provide 'solutions' capable of extension across the range of building types. Images 59-100

Part 3. Ronchamp, La Tourette, Chandigarh. Le Corbusier did for concrete what Michelangelo did for marble. His 'béton brut' marked all his mature work: Ronchamp, La Tourette and the Capitol buildings at Chandigarh. The Chapel at Ronchamp is his masterpiece - "the pearl of my career" he called it, the meeting-place of the sense-world and the spiritual. About new Indian architecture, his conviction was that, "though it would have a number of universal qualities, it would emerge essentially from a scientific approach to the problems of the climate and a positive acceptance of the limitations of modern building construction in a poor economy". (Sunan Prasad). Images 101-168

Part 4. Other large buildings between 1916 and 1965. "When commissions came to which Le Corbusier could respond idealistically as a Nature mystic, he created architecture that was original not only within the period in which he worked but also within his own 'oeuvre'. He never stood still artistically and he never created the same building twice". (Russell Walden). Images 169-204