Born in the small Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris—better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965)—is widely regarded as the most important architect of the 20th century. As a gifted architect, provocative writer, divisive urban planner, talented painter, and unparalleled polemicist, Le Corbusier was able to influence some of the world’s most powerful figures, leaving an indelible mark on architecture that can be seen in almost any city worldwide.
The Visual Resources Collection (VRC) at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) has released the second phase of their online database, now containing 20,000 images of architectural plans, sections, diagrams and photographs. The Avery/GSAPP Architectural Plans & Sections Collection contains images related to GSAPP’s history of modern architecture curriculum, which focuses on the history of modern buildings, with an emphasis of 20th century Modernism.
Although societies have transformed through the ages, wealth never truly seems to go out of style. That said, the manner in which it is expressed continually adapts to each successive cultural epoch. As a consequence of evolving social mores and emerging technologies, the ideal of “luxury” and “splendour” sees priorities shift from opulence to subtlety, from tradition to innovation, and from visual ornamentation to physical comfort.
AD Classics are ArchDaily's continually updated collection of longer-form building studies of the world's most significant architectural projects. In these ten examples of "high-end" residences, which represent centuries of history across three separate continents, the ever-changing nature of status, power and fine living is revealed.
The end of the First World War did not mark the end of struggle in Europe. France, as the primary location of the conflict’s Western Front, suffered heavy losses in both manpower and industrial productivity; the resulting economic instability would plague the country well into the 1920s. It was in the midst of these uncertain times that the French would signal their intention to look not to their recent troubled past, but to a brighter and more optimistic future. This signal came in the form of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industries) of 1925 – a landmark exhibition which both gave rise to a new international style and, ultimately, provided its name: Art Deco.
For Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis, the section “is often understood as a reductive drawing type, produced at the end of the design process to depict structural and material conditions in service of the construction contract.” A definition that will be familiar to most of those who have studied or worked in architecture at some point. We often think primarily of the plan, for it allows us to embrace the programmatic expectations of a project and provide a summary of the various functions required. In the modern age, digital modelling software programs offer ever more possibilities when it comes to creating complex three dimensional objects, making the section even more of an afterthought.
With their Manual of Section, the three founding partners of LTL architects engage with section as an essential tool of architectural design, and let’s admit it, this reading might change your mind on the topic. For the co-authors, “thinking and designing through section requires the building of a discourse about section, recognizing it as a site of intervention.” Perhaps, indeed, we need to understand the capabilities of section drawings both to use them more efficiently and to enjoy doing so.
Le Corbusier made an indelible mark on Modernist architecture when he declared “une maison est une machine-à-habiter” (“a house is a machine for living”). His belief that architecture should be as efficient as machinery resulted in such proposals such as the Plan Voisin, a proposal to transform the Second Empire boulevards of Paris into a series of cruciform skyscrapers rising from a grid of freeways and open parks. Not all of Le Corbusier’s concepts, however, were geared toward such radical urban transformation. His 1965 proposal for a hospital in Venice, Italy, was notable in its attempt at seeking aesthetic harmony with its unique surroundings: an attempt not to eradicate history, but to translate it.
With UNESCO's recent announcement that 17 buildings by Le Corbusier are to be added to the World Heritage List, Monocle 24's Section D speaks to a number of organisations—including the Twentieth Century Society, devotees of Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona, London's Victoria Albert Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian in New York City—in order to understand why architectural preservation is important, and who decides what’s worth saving.
1. All black.
2. Black with a bit of grey.
3. Black with a bit of white.
4. Match different shades of black.
Done. Go home.
All jokes aside, there has never been a set uniform in the architecture profession. The truth is, there are a large variety of different architectural practices, and one’s attire to do architectural work often depends on each firm’s unique culture. There are corporate firms composed of hundreds of people in office blocks where “corporate” clothing is expected, or there are atelier style firms where jeans and a simple shirt are more appropriate for the design-build.
The architecture world is unique in that we are expected to be creative like artists, execute like engineers, negotiate like businessmen, and make like craftsmen but at the same time are asked to discover our own unique style and approach. Hybridity and improvisation abounds in architecture, which is definitely reflected in our fashion choices. In general though, the architect’s wardrobe is governed by four key words: eccentric, professional, relaxed and... well, still largely black. Here we’ve profiled a few tips on how to dress by these four qualities.
Voyage Le Corbusier, by Jacob Brillhart, collects for the first time a compendium of sketchbook drawings and watercolors of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret—a young student who would go onto become the singularly influential modernist architect, Le Corbusier. Between 1907 and 1911, he traveled throughout Europe and the Mediterranean carrying an array of drawing supplies and documenting all that he saw: classical ruins, details of interiors, vibrant landscapes, and the people and objects that populated them.
Le Corbusier was a deeply radical progressive architect, a futurist who was equally and fundamentally rooted in history and tradition. He was intensely curious, constantly traveling, drawing, painting, and writing, all in the pursuit of becoming a better designer. As a result, he found intellectual ways to connect his historical foundations with what he learned from his contemporaries. He grew from drawing nature to copying fourteenth-century Italian painting to leading the Purist movement that greatly influenced French painting and architecture in the early 1920s. All the while, he was making connections between nature, art, culture, and architecture that eventually gave him a foundation for thinking about design.
One of the most significant buildings of the late modernist style, Le Corbusier’s Convent de la Tourette exemplifies the architect’s style and sensibilities in the latter end of his career. Built between 1956 and 1960 on a hillside near Lyon, France, the priory dominates the landscape, with its strict, geometric form.
In terms of memorialization, being selected to represent your country as the face of a banknote is one of the highest honors you can achieve. Even if electronic transfer seems to be the way of the future, cash remains the reliable standard for exchange of goods and services, so being pasted to the front of a bill guarantees people will see your face on a near-daily basis, ensuring your legacy carries on.
In some countries, the names of the faces even become slang terms for the bills themselves. While “counting Le Corbusiers” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, a select few architects have still been lucky enough to have been featured on such banknotes in recent history. Read on to find out who the 15 architects immortalized in currency are and what they’re worth.
Claude Parent, a celebrated French architect and Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur, died on the evening of the 27th February 2016, the day after his 93rd birthday. Born in 1923 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Parent was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and, throughout his career, developed a limited but extremely influential body of built work ranging from nuclear power stations to shockingly unconventional shopping centers, such as his project in Sens. Described as both a utopian and a 'supermodernist' in his own lifetime, the methodology he shaped has played a significant role for his peers of all generations and for contemporary artists and thinkers including Jean Nouvel, who began his professional life as a collaborator.
A new exhibition is coming out of the Le Corbusier portfolio of architectural photographer Cemal Emden who has been working on the master architect’s oeuvre for the last five years. The exhibition, organized by Istanbul Association of Architects in Private Practice (IstanbulSMD) will be inaugurated in Isik Art Gallery (Istanbul) on 9th of March 2016 and it will put in display a number of the major works of Le Corbusier, spanning over a period of half a century. Apart from Emden’s photographs, texts by Turkish and international scholars who studied Le Corbusier’s work will also be featured in the exhibition.
“Concrete has the ability to be primitive and technological, massive and levitating, to combine the properties of steel with those of mud,” says Rowan Moore in his list of The 10 best concrete buildings created for The Guardian. Through examples spanning three continents, Moore unites old standbys with unexpected wonders, all of which show the varied possibilities inherent in mixing water, aggregate, and cement. In a list that incorporates examples from Classical times to the present, Moore establishes concrete’s unique ability to adapt to different times, styles, applications, and treatments.
Examples by Le Corbusier, Álvaro Siza, Lina Bo Bardi, and Marcel Breuer demonstrate that concrete is anything but workaday or utilitarian. Moore’s list affirms that a material simultaneously strong and light, durable, sustainable, and fire-resistant, can scarcely be considered anything short of miraculous. Of course, ten buildings can only provide an abridged version of concrete’s possibilities, and Moore cheekily apologizes for some of the obvious omissions. Check out the full list here.
French artist and illustrator Vincent Mahé has shared his most recent work with us -- a series of illustrations made for a special edition of Telerama magazine that depicts the life of the renowned Swiss-French architect, Le Corbusier. In just eight pages, the artist highlights the most relevant facts of this unforgettable architect's life. Expressed in green and pink tones, we can see key moments that have without a doubt shifted the course of contemporary architecture, with the extreme care and clarity that Mahé's work presents us.
View the eight illustrations after the break.
Archstudies.gr and DeCorbuziers, in partnership with the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens, have announced their international student competition to design a conceptual funerary monument for the death of Modernism.
With this year marking the 50th anniversary of Le Corbusier’s death, the team of organizations is seeking “contemporary interpretations concerning multidisciplinary approaches over Modernism and specifically over Le Corbusier’s work, while [exploring] possible themes and directions of the memorial representation” in present day. Designs should emphasize commentary, rather than a tribute to Le Corbusier.
Hiding out from the gentle Bogotá rain, a cat with turquoise eyes and a black and white coat prowls along the ledge of an office hidden in the midst of lush vegetation. A large window with a wooden frame filters the light and illuminates the interior: a desk, hundreds of books, manila folders, and backlit pictures. Sitting comfortably in his chair, 91-year-old Colombian architect Germán Samper takes a pencil, presses it to the surface of a sheet of paper, and begins to explain everything he is saying by drawing for us in the most clear and simple manner possible.
Whether he's giving instructions on taking a taxi in Bogotá or explaining the recent modifications to the historic Colsubisdio citadel, Samper -- a master of Colombian architecture -- can express ideas on paper with an ease that makes us think that drawing might be very simple, but it's really just a great trick.
Perseverance is key and Samper knows this from experience. "I don't understand why architects don't draw more if it is truly a pleasure," he ponders.
After the break, a conversation with Germán Samper and a series of unedited sketches by the Colombian architect.
This week marked 50 years since the death of Le Corbusier, and to commemorate his 78-year career we’ve rounded up a selection of videos and documentaries on the architect. In a myriad of languages, the films cover everything from the historical context of his era to how the Villa Savoye is preserved, and his work in Argentina.