How a Le Corbusier Design Helped Define the Architecture of Southern California

© Elizabeth Daniels

We all know that in architecture, few things are truly original. Architects take inspiration from all around them, often taking ideas from the designs of others to reinterpret them in their own work. However, it’s more rare that a single architectural element can be borrowed to define the style of an entire region. As uncovered in this article, originally published by Curbed as “Le Corbusier’s Forgotten Design: SoCal’s Iconic Butterfly Roof,” this is exactly what happened to , who – despite only completing one building in the US - still had a significant impact on the appearance of the West Coast.

Atop thousands of homes in the warm western regions of the United States are roofs that turn the traditional housetop silhouette on its head. Two panels meet in the middle of the roofline and slope upward and outward, like butterfly wings in mid-flap. This similarity gave the “butterfly roof” its name, and it is a distinct feature of post-war American residential and commercial architecture. In Hawaii, Southern California, and other sun-drenched places, the butterfly roofs made way for high windows that let in natural light. Homes topped with butterfly roofs seemed larger and more inviting.

Credit for the butterfly roof design often goes to architect . He began building single-family homes with butterfly rooflines for the Alexander Construction Company, a father-son development team, in Palm Springs, California, in 1957. The Alexander Construction Company, mostly using Krisel’s designs, built over 2,500 tract homes in the desert. These homes, and their roofs, shaped the desert community, and soon other architects and developers began building them, too—the popularity of Krisel’s Palm Springs work led to commissions building over 30,000 homes in the Southland from San Diego to the San Fernando Valley.

Goycolea Building / FG arquitectos

Courtesy of Renato Sepúlveda, Enrique Colin (FG arquitectos)

Architects: FG arquitectos
Location: , Región Metropolitana,
Architect In Charge: Alfredo Fernández Recart, Enrique Colin Altuzarra, Matías González Rast
Area: 15562.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Renato Sepúlveda, Enrique Colin (FG arquitectos)

Carol Urzua / Lira Arquitectos Asociados

© Pedro Mutis

Architects: Lira Arquitectos Asociados
Location: Santa Rosa 1727, , Región Metropolitana,
Architect In Charge: Raimundo Lira, Marlene Fischer, Diego Arroyo, Carolina Valenzuela
Area: 2373.0 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Pedro Mutis

Corredor House / Chauriye Stäger Arquitectos

© Pablo Blanco

Architects: Chauriye Stäger Arquitectos
Location: Huelquén, Paine, Región Metropolitana,
Architect In Charge: Rodrigo Chauriye, Beatriz Stäger
Area: 1000.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Pablo Blanco

SIP m3 House / Ian Hsü + Gabriel Rudolphy

© Aryeh Kornfeld

Architects: Ian Hsü + Gabriel Rudolphy
Location: , , Metropolitan Region, Chile
Project Area: 155.0 m2
Project Year: 2014
Photographs: Aryeh Kornfeld, Courtesy of Ian Hsü + Gabriel Rudolphy, SKYFILMS Chile

Termas Geométricas Hot Springs Complex / Germán del Sol

© Guy Wenborne

Architects: Germán del Sol
Location: Coñaripe, Panguipulli, Los Ríos Region,
Area: 1280.0 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Guy Wenborne

Los Morros House / Chauriye Stäger Arquitectos

© Midas / Pablo Blanco

Architects: Chauriye Stäger Arquitectos
Location: , , Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Architect In Charge: Rodrigo Chauriye, Beatriz Stäger
Area: 380.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Midas / Pablo Blanco

House 1957 / Brugnoli Asociados Arquitectos

© Juan Dúran Sierralta

Architects: Brugnoli Asociados Arquitectos
Location: Providencia, Región Metropolitana,
Architect In Charge: Gregorio Brugnoli Errázuriz, Macarena Cortés Darrigrande
Area: 230.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Juan Dúran Sierralta

Remota Hotel in Patagonia / German del Sol

© Guy Wenborne

Architects: German del Sol
Location: Puerto , , Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region,
Design Team: José Luis Ibañez, Architect, Francisca Schuler, Architect. Carlos Venegas, Architect.
Area: 12000.0 sqm
Year: 2006
Photographs: Guy Wenborne , Michael Turek

Barbecue Place in Lampa / Rosario Illanes Feuerhake + Josefina Feuerhake Rodríguez

© Natalia Vial

Architects: Rosario Illanes Feuerhake, Josefina Feuerhake Rodríguez
Location: , , Santiago Metropolitan Region,
Area: 300.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Natalia Vial

ED House / Eduardo Guzmán Rivera + Juan Carlos Muñoz Del Sante

© Cristian Muñoz Del Sante

Architects: Eduardo Guzmán Rivera + Juan Carlos Muñoz Del Sante
Location: Araucanía Region,
Area: 250.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Cristian Muñoz Del Sante

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

(Central Pavilion): Ceiling. Image © David Levene

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas’ earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”

ZX FLUX Adidas Gallery / Arquitectos Asociados.lo

© Francisco Ibañez

Location: Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region,
Architect In Charge: Eduardo Labra B., Diego Ortuzar F.
Area: 60.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Francisco Ibañez

Win a Scholarship for the AA Visiting School in Santiago

What does architecture have to do with Chilean astronomy? A lot more than many realize. In the 1960s, the manufactured three Grand Passage Instrument telescopes (GIPpy), and their accompanying domes in Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately, they fell into ruin after the Soviet astronomical mission’s departure from Chile following the 1973 military coup d-etat. Now, however, the Architectural Association Visiting School in Santiago, Chile, in partnership with the Pontifical Catholic University, will host a 10-day workshop in January on the GIPpy telescopes. The workshop is organized by the team that was recently awarded the Silver Lion at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale for their work on Soviet prefabricated housing in Chile, and we’ve teamed up with the Architectural Association Visiting School to give away two £600 scholarships to attend the workshop!

For more information on the workshop and to find out how to enter to win a scholarship read on after the break…

Saunas and Pools in Atacama / Germán del Sol

© Guy Wenborne

Architects: Germán del Sol
Location: San Pedro de Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region,
Area: 940.0 sqm
Year: 2000
Photographs: Guy Wenborne

Resiter Office Building / Raimundo Lira Arquitectos

© Pedro Mutis

Architects: Raimundo Lira Arquitectos
Location: Los Conquistadores 2752, , Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Partner Architects: Francisco García Huidobro, Carolina Jara, Arturo Saavedra
Area: 1455.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Pedro Mutis

TED Talk: My Architectural Philosophy? Bring the Community Into the Process / Alejandro Aravena

“If there is any power in design, that’s the power of synthesis.”

In this TED Talk Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, the founder of ELEMENTAL, speaks about some of the design challenges he has faced in and his innovative approaches to solving them. Emphasizing the need for simplicity in design, Aravena talks about three of his projects: the Quinta Monroy social housing project, through which he developed the “half-finished home” typology for governments to provide quality homes at incredibly low-prices; his “inside-out” design for the Pontifical Catholic University’s Innovation Center UC – Anacelto Angelini, which reduced energy costs by two-thirds; and lastly his masterplan for rebuilding a resilient coastline in Constitución Chile after the city was hit by the 2010 earthquake.

Aravena also emphasized the importance of community participation in his projects, saying: “We won’t ever solve the problem unless we use people’s own capacity to build.” Watch Aravena’s full talk above and take a peek at some of his key projects below.

Puritama Thermal Bath / Germán del Sol

© Guy Wenborne

Architects: Germán del Sol
Location: Río Puritama, San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region,
Area: 1190.0 sqm
Year: 2000
Photographs: Guy Wenborne, Felipe Camus, Courtesy of