Today marks the Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier’s birthday. Noted as one of the pioneers of modern architecture, Le Corbusier’s architecture career spanned some five decades. Born in 1887, which would make him 124 today, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier in the 1920s. Known for both his architecture and furniture design you can visit the Galerie Anton Meier where some of Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret furniture is currently on a special exhibit. More of ArchDaily’s coverage on Le Corbusier, books, buildings, and articles can be found here.
GENEVA–Galerie Anton Meier inaugurated the first exhibition in Switzerland devoted to the work Pierre Jeanneret on September 20 at the Palais de l’Athénée. The exhibition, “The Chandigarh Project,” features a selection of furniture created for the Chandigarh capital complex on the border of Punjab and Haryana states in India. Intended to offer the public “clearer public insight into the humanistic work of Pierre Jeanneret, often overshadowed by his illustrious cousin, the show features pieces handcrafted on site for the new capital presented with “rare street furniture” as well as Le Corbusier’s symbols and prints. Highlights include teak tables, cane chairs, wooden armchairs, an a cast iron manhole cover with a recessed reproduction of the Chandigarh master plan as drawn by Le Corbusier in 1951. The exhibition comes after a scandal that erupted in 2010 when UBS decided to pull an ad featuring Corbusier. Debates continue involving the provenance of Chandigarh artifacts such as these, as dealers continue to buy items from Indian officials to resell abroad.
More information and photos after the break.
Highlighting fashion one more time this week (take a look at An Architect’s Dress Code) we wanted to share with you this Le Corbusier inspired design. Taking a nod from one of architecture’s greats the Corneliani man for Fall/Winter 2011 is an interpretation of the Swiss architect and designer Le Corbusier’s timeless elegance and the ‘talking jacket’. Setting a scene reminiscent of a 1940s movie set the Italian brand’s new collection is described as ‘a suit with peak lapels, a soft, enveloping, deconstructed overcoat, thick glasses and a bow tie symbolise with an eccentric touch a sophisticated and relaxed chic.’
Le Corbusier’s politics are a divisive issue for architects and rightly so: his work is still highly influential, in both adoration and enmity, and his expressed political views are at odds with contemporary western democratic values.
It’s easy for the discussion of those views to lapse into a sort of ethical debate by-proxy, devolving into a discussion about whether or not Le Corbusier should continue to be included in the canon of twentieth century architects considering his apparent anti-Semetism and sympathy for the Nazi party. Such narrow and moralistic inquiry negates other issues pertinent to Le Corbusier’s place in history. It is possible to both be aware of Le Corbusier’s political affiliations and to discuss his work as an architect, urbanist, and designer for its own merits. By way of explanation, I would like to revisit a recent controversy concerning Le Corbusier.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Berlin. The twentieth century changed nearly all cities, but perhaps none more so than Berlin. From its destruction in World War II that left few historic buildings intact to its division until 1989 that brought together the architecture of two competing ideologies into one city, Berlin’s modern and contemporary architecture speaks to a past that seldom accompanies such recent additions. The city is filled with new and wonderful architecture that might not have found space in other cities in Europe. With that in mind, we were unable feature all our readers’ suggestions on the first go around. We will be adding to the list in the near future, so please add more of your favorites in the comment section below. Once again, thanks to all our readers for your help.
The Architecture City Guide: Berlin list and corresponding map after the break.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Paris. For centuries Paris has been the laboratory where innovative architects and artists have come to test their ideas. This has created a city that has bit of everything. Where the architecture of some cities seems to undergo phases of punctuated equilibrium, Paris’s architectural fossil record gives an impression of gradualism; all the missing links are there. This makes it easy to trace the origins of the most contemporary ideas throughout history. Nothing seems to come out of nowhere. If you look around you kind find the design’s inspiration running through the city’s Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Rocco, Neo-Classical, Empire, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary Architecture. Seen in another context, many of Paris’s buildings might seem out of place, but the bones of this city support the newest iterations on the oldest and most profound questions. The 24 contemporary designs that comprise our list probably should not be viewed outside of this context, even though that is the stated goal of some of the designs.
As the most visited city in the world and arguably the capital of culture, it is impossible to capture the essence of Paris in 24 modern/contemporary designs. Our readers supplied us with great suggestions, and we really appreciate the help and use of their photographs. The list is far from complete and we realize that many iconic buildings are not yet on the list. We will be adding to it in the near feature, so please add more in the comments section below.
The Architecture City Guide: Paris list and corresponding map after the break.
Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbuiser, you can’t understand 20th century architecture without him. In light of this statement it is surprising that few books have dealt extensively with the writings of an architect who chose to list his profession as “Homme de Lettres” (Man of Letters) on his French identity card. Upon reading M. Christine Boyer’s Le Corbusier, Homme de Lettres one immediately realizes how much more fitting this title is for the architectural giant. His prolific literary output included more than fifty books, hundreds of articles, and thousands of letters. It is hard to imagine how his fewer than 60 buildings would have manifested themselves without his written explorations. Writing taught him as much about himself, architecture and urban design as drawing and building. No other book takes this more seriously than Boyer’s recent tome.
There are many aspects to like about this book. I personally enjoyed learning not only what he wrote but what he read. Additionally, Boyer’s effort to assemble Jeanneret’s letter and journal writing in chronological order should not go unnoticed. Although physically heavy this book makes following Jeanneret’s struggles and transformations fairly easy. This would have been impossible without Boyer’s effort. The notes she includes on the debates over the dates of certain letters illustrate how difficult but important this process must have been. So for a fraction of the effort you can get a glimpse into the transformations of a mind that changed how the world views architecture. Despite being far from an expert on Le Corbusier I certainly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in modern architecture, the 20th century, travel, or urban design. It has it all.
Credits, further information and more photos after the break.
We saw this incredible set of posters from iconic architects created by artist Andrea Gallo and felt the need to share them with you. They will be available for sale soon, so we look forward to buy one and decorate our office! Which one would you get? Check the posters of Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Alvar Aalto and Walter Gropius after the break.
For this week the Architecture City Guide series headed to the city of Boston including neighboring Cambridge just across the Charles River Basin. This area has an overwhelmingly large amount of modern architecture in a small radius, and our list reflects just that. What buildings do you want to see added to our Boston list, share them with us in the comment section below.
The Architecture City Guide: Boston list and corresponding map after the break!
TDO was commissioned by Wallpaper* Magazine to re-approach the design of a doll’s house. They were asked to consider Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye as an inspirational starting point, and from there developed a concept that successfully responded with a functional doll’s house with a contemporary design.
Pratt Institute School of Architecture and the Pratt Library will present “Le Corbusier – Miracle Boxes”, a multidisciplinary, three-part exhibition on the work of renowned Swiss-French architect, urbanist, designer, writer, and painter Le Corbusier (born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris), who is considered by many to be the most important architect of the 20th century, starting August 30, 2010.
“Miracle Boxes,” the first New York exhibition dedicated entirely to the work of Le Corbusier, is curated by Ivan R. Shumkov, Ph.D., adjunct associate professor of architecture at Pratt Institute. Shumkov will deliver an opening lecture that will be followed by a reception on September 13, 2010 at 6 p.m in Higgins Hall Auditorium located at 61 St. James Place in Brooklyn. The exhibition, opening lecture, reception, and an upcoming related symposium will be free and open to the public.
More information and images on the event after the break.