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Le Corbusier: The Latest Architecture and News

Spotlight: Le Corbusier

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.

Palace of the Assembly at Chandigarh. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/70608042@N00/1321525329'>Flickr user chiara_facchetti</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Villa Savoye. Image © Flavio Bragaia Church at Firminy. Image © Richard Weil Swiss Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig + 25

The Creative Process of the Four Pioneers of Modern Architecture

The Architectural realm has always been torn between artistic and rational cosmos. During our architectural studies, we are rarely given one specific methodology with which we can approach a project, resulting in diverse outcomes and methods of designing. However, in order for us to discover our personal stand, we must look back at the logic and philosophy of the great pioneers who influenced architecture before us.

Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Kahn are four of the most notable architects to date. Read on to find out more on the creative process of these four leaders of the modern era, and why their projects and practices are still influential to our modern times.

Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing

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 (2016), 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.

Bagsværd Church by Jørn Utzon (1976). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects United States Pavilion at Expo '67 by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao (1967). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright (1959). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects + 15

Le Corbusier's Final Building Reopens in Zurich

The Centre Le Corbusier, the final project of renowned architect Le Corbusier, has reopened to the public in Zurich following an extensive renovation. Completed in 1967, the scheme is only of the only Le Corbusier buildings to be constructed almost entirely from glass and steel: realizing his concept of the synthesis of architecture, life, and art in real life.

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence + 35

The Good Metropolis: From Urban Formlessness to Metropolitan Architecture

From the Publisher:
The book presents the first historical analysis of the productive tension between the city and the architectural form. It introduces 20th-century theories to construct a historical context from which a new architecture-city relationship emerged. The book provides a conceptual framework to understand this relationship and comes to the conclusion that urbanization may be filled with potential, i.e. be a Good Metropolis.

Architect-Designed Light Fixtures at the 2019 Salone del Mobile

As Milan Design Week continues to set avant-garde design trends for the upcoming years, the 2019 Salone del Mobile’s lighting biennale, Euroluce, saw a nod to classic designs mixed with contemporary craftsmanship.

Two dominant trends at this year’s Euroluce are ‘rediscovering the past’ and a ‘reference to nature’. Vintage lighting pieces were rediscovered, not only to serve as valuable tokens of the past, but as foundation for new research. The reference to nature is evidently the most dominant design trend at this year’s lighting biennale, as designers found inspiration from natural, organic forms, and produced their pieces with eco-friendly material.

However, some of the most unique pieces at this year’s Euroluce were developed in collaboration with heavyweights in the world of design. Profound architects found their way into the 2019 Euroluce, bringing together their design skills with the engineering solutions of design companies.

Federico Babina's "Archivoids" Depicts the Invisible Masses left by Famous Architects

Italian artist Federico Babina has published the latest in his impressive portfolio of architectural illustrations. “Archivoid” seeks to “sculpt invisible masses of space” through the reading of negatives – using the architectural language of famous designers past and present, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Bjarke Ingels.

Babina’s images create an inverse point of view, a reversal of perception for an alternative reading of space, and reality itself. Making negative space his protagonist, Babina traces the “Architectural footprints” of famous architects, coupling mysterious geometries with a vibrant color scheme.

© Federico Babina © Federico Babina © Federico Babina © Federico Babina + 9

Rethinking Le Corbusier's Manifesto: 6 Explorations That Break Away From Modernist Ideals

The Society of the Spectacle / Guy Debord
The Society of the Spectacle / Guy Debord

“A model by Corbusier is the only image that brings to my mind the idea of immediate suicide.” - Ivan Chtcheglov

Despite their pranks and dirty politics, the Situationists may have been right after all. The death of architecture students will not be a result of excessive studio work, but will rather occur from the sermonizing repetition of modernist ideals that continue to be taught. In Le Corbusier's manifesto, Vers une Architecture (Toward An Architecture), he advocates for the adoption of modern architecture as the solution to 20th-century global crises, in a way that now seems rather limiting. 

If the discipline doesn't move past the black-and-white photographs of the Barcelona Pavilion or the reductionist designs of the Bauhaus, students will continue to produce what may now be incorrectly associated with the “right architecture.” In order to break away from these stereotypes of what architecture should be, here are six explorations of building, curating and writing that resist these notions:

via MVRDV Courtesy of Joanna E. Grant © Plamen Petkov Courtesy of Sarah Wigglesworth Architects + 19

Le Corbusier’s Restored Parisian Apartment Opened to the Public

The Fondation Le Corbusier has celebrated its 50th anniversary with the unveiling of a restored apartment originally designed by the famous architect. The studio apartment on Nungesser-et-Coli in Paris was designed by Le Corbusier in 1931 for his own habitation and was completed in 1934.

The apartment underwent two years of restoration following its listing as a classified world heritage site in 2016 and is now open to the public.

© FLC/ADAGP/Mercusot © FLC/ADAGP/Mercusot © FLC/ADAGP © FLC/ADAGP + 5

AD Classics: Venice Hospital / Le Corbusier

This article was originally published on August 15, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

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.[1] 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.

Model. Image © Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC/ADAGP) Plan Plan Situation Plan + 7

Le Corbusier’s Paintings Showcased for the First Time Since 1966

Trois baigneuses, 1935. Image © The Foundation Le Corbusier / FLC ADGAP
Trois baigneuses, 1935. Image © The Foundation Le Corbusier / FLC ADGAP

They say one cannot separate art from the artist, or perhaps in this case, the artist from the architect. Arguably one of the most criticized architects, Le Corbusier is often portrayed as cold and controlling. Depicting his more dreamy and humorous nature, the Nasjonalmuseet's exhibition titled, “Le Corbusier by the Sea,” draws upon his memories from his summer travels along the coast of southwest France.

Hosted in Villa Stenersen, one of the National Museum's venues, the exhibition showcases Le Corbusier's work as an artist during the period 1926-36. Not only does the exhibition include fifteen of his reproduced paintings alongside a collection of sketches, but also screens two films from Le Corbusier's own footage of his surrounding views.

Trois figures de femme et chien. Image © The Foundation Le Corbusier / FLC ADGAP Baigneuse, barque et coquillage. Image © The Foundation Le Corbusier / FLC ADGAP Le déjeuner près du pare, 1928. Image © The Foundation Le Corbusier / FLC ADGAP La pêcheuse d'huitres, 1935. Image © The Foundation Le Corbusier / FLC ADGAP + 8

Color, Form, and Material: Andres Gallardo Spotlights Berlin's Post-War Modernist Charm

In the next chapter of his ongoing Urban Geometry project, self-taught Spanish photographer Andres Gallardo captures the elements of color, form, and materiality of post-war architecture in Berlin. This photo series, with installments featuring the modern marvels of Beijing, Seoul, Copenhagen, and Tallinn, among other cities, has become representative of Gallardo's personal growth from his humble start in his career as a professional photographer.

© Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo + 21

Drawing on the Road: The Story of a Young Le Corbusier's Travels Through Europe

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.

© F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016 © F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016 © F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016 © F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016 + 15

On the Dislocation of the Body in Architecture: Le Corbusier's Modulor

In 1948, the architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, released one of his most famous publications titled Modular, followed by Modular 2 (1953). In these texts, Le Corbusier expressed his support of the research that Vitrubio, DaVinci, and Leon Battista Alberti started centuries before: to find the mathematical relationship between human dimensions and nature.

The research of the previously mentioned authors also represents the search to explain the Parthenon, the temples, and cathedrals built according to exact measurements that reference a code of essentiality. Knowing what instruments were used in finding the essence of these buildings was the starting point, instruments that at first glance seemed to bypass time and space. It wouldn't be farfetched to say that the measurements came from essence: parts of the body such as the elbow, the finger, thumb, foot, arm, palm, etc. In fact, there are instruments and measurements that carry names alluding to parts of the human body, an indication of architecture's proximity to it. 

Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier, and the E-1027 House: A Tale of Architecture and Scandal

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Sordid Saga of Eileen Gray’s Iconic E-1027 House."

It’s fair to say Eileen Gray’s E-1027 French villa hasn’t lived a charmed life: It has survived desecration by Le Corbusier, target practice by the Nazis, a stint as drug den and orgy destination, and near dereliction. However, of late, the infamous house’s future is looking more optimistic: Cap Moderne, a non-profit dedicated to rehabbing and opening the building as a cultural destination, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to continue the building’s restoration. Over the last few years, the conservationists’ work had focused on the recreation of the building’s Eileen Gray–designed furniture. The latest efforts focus on a particular dining alcove. How that alcove—and the entire house—lost its furniture and fell into disrepair is a long story, with many twists and turns.

A Visual Portrait of Neelam Cinema, a Modernist Icon in Le Corbusier's Chandigarh

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Neelam Cinema is one of three theaters built in Chandigarh, a modernist city master-planned by Le Corbusier. Built shortly after India gained independence in the early 1950s, the cinema is located in the bustling industrial area of Sector 17. Designed by architect Aditya Prakash under the guidance of Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, the modernist structure stands to this day in its original form and continues to screen Bollywood films. However, without UNESCO World Heritage protection, the future of the cinema remains uncertain. Below, British photographer Edmund Sumner discusses his experience of shooting the 960-seat cinema, the heart of the city, and an icon of Chandigarh.

© Edmund Sumner © Edmund Sumner © Edmund Sumner © Edmund Sumner + 10