NEVER CONFINED TO A SINGLE STYLE: MEET LE CORBUSIER


Long before Zaha Hadid, Le Corbusier was the original superstar architect, and the first to manipulate the emerging power of the media. Not only an architect but also an urban planner, a thinker and a painter, Le Corbusier was a self-promoter, and paved the way for the emergence of multi-disciplinary practices. Le Corbusier became the living embodiment of modern architecture. (READ MORE HERE)

"Emerging out of art nouveau and art deco, Le Corbusier created a new architecture for a new century."

Between his works of the Fallet house, built 1906–07, and his other projects, Le Corbusier’s productions spanned six decades and never ceased to amaze. Le Corbu constructed 75 buildings, in 12 countries, and took on 42 major city planning projects. He left behind 8,000 drawings (could have been 16,000 if he had used CAD), more than 400 paintings and pictures, 44 sculptures and 27 tapestry cartoons. He wrote 34 books, totalling some 7,000 pages, and wrote hundred of articles (wonder how much he’d write today if he were blogging?) He also gave lectures (today would be webinars) and wrote some 6,500 private letters (today would be emails, IM’s, texts and tweets). READ MORE HERE


One of the buildings I've always admired in New York City is Le Corbusier's United Nations Building... especially after discovering some of its' history while watching a segment on Robert Moses (The Documentary of New York). Moses was also in large part responsible for the United Nations' decision to be headquarter in Manhattan as opposed to Philadelphia. For this visionary project, Le Corbusier was chosen. 



Project: started in 1947 and completed in 1953

"Sited by the East River, the scheme is dominated by the towering slab block of the Secretariat Building, which, with its narrow end walls rising like sheer white cliffs and it longer sides clad in glass curtain walling, has had considerable influence on subsequent high buildings throughout the world."

— Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture from GreatBuildings.com




Le Corbusier was actually born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, 1887. He trained as an artist, as an engraver and as a goldsmith but, from 1904, he studied architecture. He travelled extensively through Germany and the East. While in Paris, he studied under Auguste Perret and absorbed the cultural and artistic life of the city. During this period he developed a keen interest in the synthesis of the various arts. Jeanneret-Gris adopted the name Le Corbusier in the early 1920s.


Not every structure Le Corbu designed punctuated the space it captured. Le Corbrusier is well known for his expressive nest modern architecture and international style. He is probably most known for Notre Dame du Haut, in Ronchamp, France. Surrealism was the key here to this late work of church at Ronchamp, constructed from 1950 through 1954. This structure was a more extreme statement of Le Corbusier's late style and is reflective of his earlier training as an artist.

"Notre Dame du Haut, at Ronchamp is exceptional, and a ruthless blow to the rest of his life’s work, and himself." (READ MORE HERE)


Being an artist by nature, Le Corbusier formulated his ideas of modern architecture and journaled them in 1919 known as "L'Esprit Nouveau". As a painter, his emphasis was on clear forms and structures. This thought process corresponds to his architecture, which is based on elemental geometric forms.




Around the same time, the Bauhaus Movement was forming. Le Corbusier had
close contact to the Weimar Bauhaus Movement, especially to Walter Gropius. Le Corbu took part in the exhibition of 1923.


In 1928, he wrote Vers une architecture where he discussed the "5 Points of Architecture". These principles were best applied to his Villa Savoye.




1.Freestanding support pillars

2.Open floor plan independent from the supports
3.Vertical facade that is free from the supports
4.Long horizontal sliding windows
5.Roof gardens


In 1943 Le Corbusier applied a similar interdisciplinary approach to developing 'Modular', (a system of proportion based on the male figure and the Golden Mean). He used this theory to determine the proportions of units in architecture and technology and it is the basis of Le Corbusier's work in furniture design. (READ MORE HERE)



An innovative urban planner, Corbusier anticipated the role of the automobile and envisioned cities with big apartment buildings in park-like settings... It's no wonder today, in some many loft spaces, his classic furniture designs are the most natural fit.





Quoted as saying, "the house is a machine for living", his theory is most evident in his furniture designs where he applied inspirations of cars and airplanes (sounds familiar: another well known designer employs the same inspirations into his designs: Ralph Lauren).




His architecture was declared and revealed through written word, which explained his intentions. Because he was capable of theorizing, Le Corbusier is acknowledged as an innovator. However, no one was less "Corbusian" than the man himself. He never confined himself to a single style, even if it was his: he always continued to challenge himself.



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