human endeavour, photography, thoughts and ideas

Le Corbusier by Elizabeth Darling.

Posted in Uncategorized by humanendeavour photography on November 15, 2010

Le Corbusiers town plan, ‘La Cite Industrielle’, was his first attempt to create a modern form of the city, built entirely from concrete. He worked alongside Germans as part of the ‘Deutche Werkbund’ design group.

  • Maison Dom-Ino, Corbusiers standardisation of house type.
    • Made from concrete and indended for mass production.
    • Whilst standardised so it was also flexible allowing customisation.

A Purist Architecture

  • A modern city  is needed for modern lifes new demands.
  • ‘The house is a machine for living.’ p15.
  • His desire was to replace the chaos of contemporary architecture to allow a state where nature and machine co-exist in a state of equilibrium. Termed ‘Machine-age classissism.’
  • Corbusier began with with his housing designs with the ‘Immeuble-villa’

Maison Citrohan’The Immeuble-villa’ was a maisonette unit with a double height living space, alongside which was placed a garden. Corbusiers intention was for each unit to be stacked vertically, or horizontally to create small housing blocks.’ p 13

  • The Maison Citrohan was of a similar design, but placed on stilts.
  • Their designs were to be functional and suitable for mass production.
  • Only one set of these designs were built, at Pessac new Bordeaux.
  • His main designs were for wealthy families and individuals.
    • These designs relied on basic elements from the above.
    • But for appearance he developed a basic grammer and set of 5 rules.

The Five Points of a New Architecture

  1. Pilotis; to life the house off the ground.
  2. The Free Plan; the framed construction of the building allowing the interior space to be organised as desired.
  3. The Free Facade; Since the external walls were not load-bearing, they could be divided up wherever necessary by windows or other apertures.
  4. The Ribbon Window; a long horizontal window
  5. The Roof Garden; Intended to replace the ground covered by the house and bring its inhabitants into direct relationship with nature.
  • The main body of the house was to be away from ground level.
    • Internal furniture was to be deisned to be functional and not decorational. Pieces were to be built into the fabric of the building.

The City of Tomorrow

  • Corbusiers first design for the reformation of town design was in 1915 with the Ville Contemporaine.


Ville Contemporaine

  • To replace a chaotic unorganised mess with slims and a lack of nature he proposeed a zoned city where things like housing, indistry and administration occupied specific areas.
    • These would be connencted by networks for cars, trains and planes.
    • Contrete allowed to build high giving room for parks.
  • In his city plan for 3 million at the heart was a traffic terminus, then high rise glass skyscrapers for the central commercial district. Then housing for those who worked in the towers.
    • A green belt seperates this from the manufacturing area and another divides the housing for those working in the factories.
    • However this design was seen as elitist as it subordinates the workers to the outskirts of the city.

Towards a Monumental Architecture

Pavillion Suisse

  • Pavillion Suisse was a residential student housing block that represented a movement into a new phase of design.
    • It was a reworking of his 5 points where there was now a grander and more powerful architectural language.
  • His design also changed eg, the Pilotis were now irregular.
    • his approach to finding a completely modernist movement.

Brutalism and Spirituality; The Post War Work

Unite d’Habitation

  • Post war Europe meant a shortage of housing and Corbusier was approached by the French government.
    • Unite d’Habitation was a culmination of all Corbusiers pre-war ideas about housing and the city combined into one.
    • Corbusier wrote that the block would ‘provide while silence and solitude before the sun, space and greenery, a dwelling which will be the perfect receptacle for the family.’ p22
  • Its design is similar to a giant bottlerack with units slotted in for living and leisure.
    • Most appartments were doubel height.
    • Accessed from corridors or ‘streets’ running through the centre of th building.
    • Dotted around the building are things which help make it a community; such as clubs, meeting rooms, shops and on the roof a recreational area.
  • Alike most of his work concrete was left untreated. This was know as ‘beton brut’ and gave the name to the period of work Brutalism.
  • This block was seen as a sculpture to the ordinary people living in the block.
    • It had much influence over other european architecture such as the Alton West estate in London.

Alton West London

  • He also explored the brutalist aesthetic in a number of other ways into beautiful and spiritual buildings.
    • eg. Notre Dame du Haut which was rebuilt from concrete but also included pieces of the old destroyed church into a beautifully curved organic structure.
      • He wanted to create a spiritual place and so used carefully designed windows to filter light and the was also a cavernous space.

Notre Dame du Haut

  • His greatest challenge came from India to design a city plan for Chandigarh. He designed not only this but four government buildings and several monuments.
    • On the exterior were deeply inset balconies called brise soliels to shelter inhabitants from the sun.
  • Corbusier died in 1965.
    • He has taken the blame for much of the pood design of modern cities with his 5 points.
      • Yet he had no control over how his ideas would be used.
      • Even now his designs are seen as very different and fresh in many ways.

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  1. […] 1950’5. In 1947, city councillors visited Marseille to inspect new tower-blocks devised by Le Corbusier. By 1979 Glasgow had more than 300 multi-storey tower […]

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