Portrait: Le Corbusier, one of the most important and influential architects of the 20th century

Saturday, 27 June 2015 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, Portrait, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Centre Le Corbusier Zürich © Roland zh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Centre Le Corbusier Zürich © Roland zh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who was better known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout Europe, India, and America. Since 2016, The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement is a World Heritage Site consisting of a selection of 17 building projects by Le Corbusier.

Dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities, Le Corbusier was influential in urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congrès international d’architecture moderne (CIAM). Corbusier prepared the master plan for the planned city of Chandigarh in India, and contributed specific designs for several buildings there.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp © Wladyslaw/cc-by-sa-3.0 Corbusierhaus Berlin © Manfred Brückels/cc-by-sa-3.0 Le Corbusier, 1933 Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret - Weissenhof © Andreas Praefcke/cc-by-3.0 Palace of Assembly Chandigarh © flickr.com - Chiara/cc-by-sa-2.0 UNO New York © Steffen/cc-by-sa-3.0 Centre Le Corbusier Zürich © Roland zh/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret - Weissenhof © Andreas Praefcke/cc-by-3.0
During his career, Le Corbusier developed a set of architectural principles that dictated his technique, called “the Five Points of a New Architecture” which were most evident in his Villa Savoye. These were:

  • Pilotis – The replacement of supporting walls by a grid of reinforced concrete columns that bears the load of the structure is the basis of the new aesthetic.
  • The free designing of the ground plan – The absence of supporting walls means that the house is unrestrained in its internal usage.
  • The free design of façade – By separating the exterior of the building from its structural function the façade becomes free.
  • The horizontal window – The façade can be cut along its entire length to allow rooms to be lit equally.
  • Roof gardens – The flat roof can be utilized for a domestic purpose while also providing essential protection to the concrete roof.

It was Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye (1929–1931) that most succinctly summed up his five points of architecture that he had elucidated in the journal L’Esprit Nouveau and his book Vers une architecture, which he had been developing throughout the 1920s. First, Le Corbusier lifted the bulk of the structure off the ground, supporting it by pilotis – reinforced concrete stilts. These pilotis, in providing the structural support for the house, allowed him to elucidate his next two points: a free façade, meaning non-supporting walls that could be designed as the architect wished, and an open floor plan, meaning that the floor space was free to be configured into rooms without concern for supporting walls. The second floor of the Villa Savoye includes long strips of ribbon windows that allow unencumbered views of the large surrounding yard, and which constitute the fourth point of his system. The fifth point was the roof garden to compensate for the green area consumed by the building and replacing it on the roof. A ramp rising from ground level to the third floor roof terrace allows for an architectural promenade through the structure. The white tubular railing recalls the industrial “ocean-liner” aesthetic that Le Corbusier much admired. The driveway around the ground floor, with its semicircular path, measures the exact turning radius of a 1927 Citroën automobile.

Read more on Fondation Le Corbusier and Wikipedia Le Corbusier (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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