AD Classics: Weissenhof-Siedlung Houses 14 and 15 / Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret

© Hassan Bagheri / hbarchitectural.com

The two-family structure known as Houses 14 and 15, designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in 1927, is one of the earliest built manifestations of the Five Points of a New Architecture.  Located on the outskirts of Stuttgart, the attached dwellings were part of the Weissenhof-Siedlung (Weissenhof Estate), an experimental housing development and exposition of Modern architecture.  A progressive precedent for the emerging International Style’s work in Stuttgart serves as a critical prototype in the development and realization of the Swiss architect’s architectural identity, which would revolutionize 20th century architecture.

The Eileen Gray Movie: E1027, Insidious Chauvinism, and “The Price of Desire”

In a public interview, director Mary McGuckian speaks with Shane O’Toole of DoCoMoMo Ireland about her soon-to-be-released film, “The Price of Desire,” a biopic about the influential Irish modernist Eileen Gray – narrated from the perspective of Le Corbusier, no less. McGuckian explains how the film and the extensive research behind it went far beyond the usual remit of a biopic. Indeed, not only did it spawn an accompanying documentary (“Gray Matters“, directed by Marco Orsini) and book, it even played a pivotal role in the of E1027, Gray’s seminal house design, to a point where it was possible to film on location.

McGuckian explains how the film deals with “the universal female experience, particularly for creative women… the lifetime experience of was a combination of the time she lived in, the personality she was, and for want of a better expression, insidious chauvinism.” The film casts Le Corbusier as Gray’s rival, who defaced E1027 with his infamous murals, but also uses a little cinematic license to present him as the admirer who tells “the story, from his point of view, of how came to be the most important, inspirational and innovative architect of their generation, and gives her back the right to be recognized for that work.”

Kikutake’s Sky House: Where Metabolism & Le Corbusier Meet

Sky House, Tokyo, 1958. Image © Kawashima Architecture Photograph Office

In this article, first published in the Australian Design Review as “The Meeting of East and West: Kikutake and Le Corbusier“, Michael Holt outlines the cross-fertilization of ideas that helped spawn the Japanese Metabolist movement, focusing on how ’s ideals were key in the design of one of the movement’s most enigmatic projects, Kiyonori Kikutake’s Sky House.

Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake’s Sky House (1958) remains an exemplary project that defines the Metabolist agenda but, more significantly, underscores the notion that a single-family dwelling can be ideologically recursive and strategic. Kikutake, however, was not without a somewhat unlikely precedent in the renowned Le Corbusier.

Both architects established an order and method of working via their smallest designs – Kikutake in Sky House and Le Corbusier at Villa Savoye (1929) – and developed their notions through written accounts (Kikutake’s Metabolist Manifesto, 1960 and Le Corbusier’s Purist Manifesto, predating the built work, in 1918). Finally, each scales up their ideas to the level of the urban through Kikutake’s Tower-Shaped Community Project (1959) and Le Corbusier’s Urbanisme at Chandigarh, India (1953). To locate the origin of the influence, it is necessary to first examine Le Corbusier’s position as the figurehead of Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM).

Read on for more about this unlikely chain of influence

Le Corbusier, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Their Flights of Fancy

(Left) Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Alghero, Sardinia, May 1944, (Right) leaning against his Plan Voisin. Image © (Left) The John and Annamaria Phillips Foundation, (Right) Fondation

This article by Avinash Rajagopal, originally published in as ‘The Little Prince’ and Le Corbusier investigates the link between Le Corbusier and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer of The Little Prince.

On October 22, 1929, a French architect got on the inaugural flight of the Aeroposta Argentina, a pioneering airline service that flew from Buenos Aires to Asuncion del Paraguay, flown by a French co-pilot. The act of flying would deeply influence the creative output of both passenger and pilot.

The former, of course, was Le Corbusier. The latter was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, later to be famous as the creator of The Little Prince (1943), the well-beloved tale of a planet-hopping, fox-befriending, flower-loving space child.

Read on after the break for more about the pair

Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp, Vandalized

AD Classics: / . Image © Cara Hyde-Basso

Originally posted in Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina reports on the irreparable damage caused by vandalism at Le Corbusier’s Chapel of Ronchamp.  

On Friday, a nun gave warning that the Chapel of Ronchamp, considered by many to be one of the key architectural works of the last century, had been vandalized. When police arrived on the scene, they found signs of forced entry: a stained-glass window, one of many executed by Le Corbusier, was broken and a concrete trunk was missing. As Le Monde reports, the intruders had also attempted to gain entry via a door. The overall damage was, according to some, “priceless” because the stained-glass had borne an original illustration by Le Corbusier. An initial assessment from the department of historical monuments found the window to be irreparable.

AD Classics: Mill Owners’ Association Building / Le Corbusier

© motaleb architekten

Le Corbusier was commissioned by the president of the Mill Owners’ Association to design the organization’s headquarters in Ahmedabad, a city historically active in ’s textile trade. The building is a physical manifesto representing ’s proposal for a modern Indian architecture. Constructed in 1954, the Mill Owners’ Association Building is considered the first of four completed commissions in Ahmedabad. 

Where Automobiles & Architecture Meet

Audi A3 Assembly Line. Image © Audi

Where does architecture and the industry meet? Many architects, including Le Corbusier, have tried to understand how building construction can be more like car manufacturing, with mass-produced parts that can be easily assembled on site. Ford recently explored the idea at their Design with a Purpose: Built Tough panel discussion held at New York’s Center for Architecture. Click here to read The New York Times‘ coverage of the discussion, and check out ArchDaily editor-in-chief’s thoughts on cars and architecture here.

Robots, Cars and Architecture

Ville Savoye (photo by Tim Brown), its floorplan and the Voiture Minimum, the car designed by Le Corbusier.

Since the dawn of the modern era, there has been a strong relationship between architecture and the car, especially in the works of Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier was fascinated by his car (the Voisin C7 Lumineuse); the aesthetics of this functional, mass produced machine deeply influenced his designs. Its focus on function translated into his concept that houses should be “machines for living” and inspired a series of experiments of mass produced, pre-fab houses (such as the Maison Citrohan). Most of these concepts were later materialized in the iconic , whose floorplan was even designed to accommodate the car’s turning radius. 

LEGO® Architecture Landmark Series: The United Nations Headquarters

Courtesy of LEGO®

LEGO® has officially announced the next addition to their architecture-inspired products: . Standing alongside New York City’s East River, is a beacon of and international collaboration, designed by a team of multinational architects including Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. Scaling 5 inches high x 8 inches wide x 6 inches deep, this representation of the UN Headquarters costs  $49.99.

Check out more about the building and its history here.

Happy Birthday Le Corbusier!

© Willy Rizzo

Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887-1965), better known as Le Corbusier, would have turned 126 today.

The Swiss-born architect, urban planner, designer, painter and writer is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the modernist movement in architecture.  Over the course of his five-decade career, he saw work built across Europe, India, and the United States.

Video: Firminy: José Oubrerie / 32BNY and Spirit of Space

32BNY in collaboration with Spirit of Space has released its fifth videopolemic, entitled Firminy: José Oubrerie. In this José Oubrerie, a French architect and protégé of , currently teaching at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University, remembers his time working for Corbu, working on the Church in Firminy.

32BNY was launched in February 2013 as a website dedicated to the potential of cinematic architectural discourse. Previous videopolemics included Steven Holl and Sanford Kwinter on Lebbeus Woods, Vito Acconci on Art and Architecture, Drawing as Thought, and Existential Sensitivity: Jeffrey Kipnis and Steven Holl. Although 32BNY admit they do not know what the terms ‘cinematic architectural discourse’, or ‘videopolemic’ mean, they are undeterred from their exploration. You can find out more about them and their work on their website.

Koolhaas Revamps UN Building’s Modernist-Era Lounge

Courtesy of Frank Oudeman

Dutch designers, Rem Koolhaas and Hella Jongerius, have revamped the delegates’ lounge in the United Nations building just in time for the 68th General Assembly this week. The “workshop of peace” lounge space, originally designed in 1952 by Wallace K. Harrison in collaboration with renowned modernists Le Corbusier and Oscar Neimeyer, now sports a range of pastel-colored sofas and lounge chairs, opting for minimal intervention in attempts to maximize the social space. Read more about the UN North Delegates lobby on Gizmodo.

Eisenman’s Evolution: Architecture, Syntax, and New Subjectivity

Iman Ansari with in his office, New York 2013. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com

In this article, which originally appeared on Architectural ReviewIman Ansari interviews Peter Eisenman about his personal views on architecture throughout the course of his career. 

Iman Ansari: More than any other contemporary architect, you have sought a space for architecture outside the traditional and conventional realm. You have continually argued that modern architecture was never fully modern and it failed to produce a cognitive reflection about the nature of architecture in a fundamental way.  From your early houses, we see a search for a system of architectural meaning and an attempt to establish a linguistic model for architecture: The idea that buildings are not simply physical objects, but artifacts with meaning, or signs dispersed across some larger social text. But these houses were also part of a larger project that was about the nature of and representation in architecture. You described them as “cardboard architecture” which neglects the architectural material, scale, function, site, and all semantics associations in favor of architecture as “syntax”: conception of form as an index, a signal or a notation. So to me, it seems like between the object and the idea of the object, your approach favors the latter. The physical house is merely a medium through which the conception of the virtual or conceptual house becomes possible. In that sense, the real building exists only in your drawings.

Peter Eisenman: The “real architecture” only exists in the drawings. The “real building” exists outside the drawings. The difference here is that “architecture” and “building” are not the same.

VIDEO: Villa Savoye, The Five Points of a New Architecture

Andrea Stinga of OMBÚ Architecture has shared with us her latest creation with visual artist Federico Gonzalez: a that illustrates ’s “Five Points of a New Architecture” in his 1929 masterpiece, Villa Savoye.

The Controversy Regarding The Restoration of Eileen Gray’s E-1027

Image via Flickr. Image © xiyitang

The Wall Street Journal recently detailed the complex history of E-1027, the house which Eileen Gray designed with her lover Jean Badovici in Southern France: from the murals which Le Corbusier painted on the walls (without Gray’s permission) to the murder that happened there in 1996 to the restoration that has been going on for over a decade (a supposed “massacre” of the original). You can read the full article here.

Le Corbusier and Brutalism Exhibition

I DREAMT, , 1953, oil on canvas © Fondation /ADAGP Paris 2013

Opening October 11th to mark the re-opening of the J1 Maritime Hangar, Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture, is presenting the Le Corbusier and Brutalism Exhibition in celebration of one of the most esteemed architects of the 20th century. The exhibition emphasizes the different facets of this unique artist-architect who along with his design work also pursued , urbanism, painting, and sculpture.

Curated by Jacques Sbriglio, the renowned Marseille architect and realized in collaboration with the Fondation Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier and Brutalism covers the period from 1935 to 1965. It presents more than 250 of the architect’s works: 133 original blueprints, 54 drawings and sketches, 33 paintings, 14 sculptures, 10 enamels, 4 tapestries, and 19 architectural models, as well as close to 100 photographs taken at Le Corbusier’s building sites. The exhibition ends December 22. For more information, please visit here.

MoMA’s Le Corbusier Exhibit is Must-See, Says Critic Alexandra Lange

Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret) with Pierre Jeanneret. Poissy-sur-Seine, France. 1929–31. Wood, aluminum, and plastic, 16 x 34 x 32″ (40.6 x 86.4 x 81.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris/FLC. Image Courtesy of .org

Although critiquing the exhibit for some “critical flaws” – namely the choice of theme and the lack of explanatory text – Alexandra Lange’s review for The New Yorker praises the MoMA’s Le Corbusier exhibit, “An Atlas of Modern Landscapes,” as a “must-see” thanks to its varied displays, which show “the terrific span of Le Corbusier’s career in time, space, and scale [...] If current architects take anything from the exhibition [...]  it should be the power of those big, gestural drawings, where visual and verbal argument vividly come together.” Read the rest of Lange’s critique at The New Yorker. 

AD Round Up: Unbuilt Classics

The Plug-In City by , 1964. Image via Archigram Archives

This AD Round Up is dedicated to unbuilt classics, a selection of projects and ideas that, although never built, contributed greatly to the canon of twentieth century architecture. In 1920, Buckminister Fuller designed the Dymaxion House, which displayed forward-thinking innovations in sustainability and prefabrication. In 1924, Le Corbusier’s radical plan for Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City) had an extensive influence upon modern urban planning and led to the development of new high-density housing typologies. In the same year Friedrick Kiesler introduced his “Endless House“, the basis for his subsequent manifesto of Correalism. Eight years later in 1932, and Henry-Russell Hitchcock curated the “Modern Architecture: International exhibition” at the MoMA, introducing the emerging International Style and laying the principles for Modern architecture. And finally, one of Archigram’s most famous utopian visions, the Plug-In City, proposed by Peter Cook in 1964, offered a fascinating new approach to urbanism and reversed traditional perceptions of infrastructure’s role in the city.