Le Corbusier: Wikis


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Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris
Le Corbusier
Personal information
Name Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris
Le Corbusier
Nationality Swiss / French
Birth date October 6, 1887(1887-10-06)
Birth place La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Date of death August 27, 1965 (aged 77)
Place of death Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Buildings Villa Savoye, France
Notre Dame du Haut, France
Buildings in Chandigarh, India

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International Style. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in his 30s.

He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, and one each in North and South America. He was also an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and modern furniture designer.




Early life and education, 1887–1913

He was born as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small city in Neuchâtel canton in north-western Switzerland, in the Jura mountains, which is just five kilometres across the border from France. He attended a kindergarten that used Fröbelian methods.

Le Corbusier was attracted to the visual arts and studied at the La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School under Charles L'Eplattenier, who had studied in Budapest and Paris. His architecture teacher in the Art School was the architect René Chapallaz, who had a large influence on Le Corbusier's earliest houses.

In his early years he would frequently escape the somewhat provincial atmosphere of his hometown by travelling around Europe. About 1907, he travelled to Paris, where he found work in the office of Auguste Perret, the French pioneer of reinforced concrete. In 1908, He studied architecture in Vienna with Josef Hoffmann. Between October 1910 and March 1911, he worked near Berlin for the renowned architect Peter Behrens, where he might have met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. He became fluent in German. Both of these experiences proved influential in his later career.

Later in 1911, he journeyed to the Balkans and visited Greece and Turkey, filling sketchbooks with renderings of what he saw, including many famous sketches of the Parthenon, whose forms he would later praise in his work Vers une architecture (1923) (towards an architecture).

Early career: the villas, 1914–1930

Le Corbusier taught at his old school in La-Chaux-de-Fonds during World War I, not returning to Paris until the war was over. During these four years in Switzerland, he worked on theoretical architectural studies using modern techniques.[1] Among these was his project for the "Dom-ino" House (1914–1915). This model proposed an open floor plan consisting of concrete slabs supported by a minimal number of thin, reinforced concrete columns around the edges, with a stairway providing access to each level on one side of the floor plan.

This design became the foundation for most of his architecture for the next ten years. Soon he would begin his own architectural practice with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret (1896–1967), a partnership that would last until 1940.

In 1918, Le Corbusier met the Cubist painter, Amédée Ozenfant, in whom he recognised a kindred spirit. Ozenfant encouraged him to paint, and the two began a period of collaboration. Rejecting Cubism as irrational and "romantic," the pair jointly published their manifesto, Après le cubisme and established a new artistic movement, Purism. Ozenfant and Jeanneret established the Purist journal L'Esprit nouveau. He was good friends with the Cubist artist Fernand Léger.

Pseudonym Adopted, 1920

In the first issue of the journal, in 1920, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret adopted Le Corbusier, an altered form of his maternal grandfather's name, "Lecorbésier", as a pseudonym, reflecting his belief that anyone could reinvent himself. Some architectural historians claim that this pseudonym translates as "the raven-like one."[2] Adopting a single name to identify oneself was in vogue by artists in many fields during that era, especially among those in Paris.

(The name "Le Corbusier" is today a registered trademark (US Reg. 2073285) owned by the Fondation Le Corbusier and licensed for the production of designs created by Charles Jeanneret alone and with his co-authors Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret.)

Between 1918 and 1922, Le Corbusier built nothing, concentrating his efforts on Purist theory and painting. In 1922, Le Corbusier and Jeanneret opened a studio in Paris at 35 rue de Sèvres.[1]

His theoretical studies soon advanced into several different single-family house models. Among these was the Maison "Citrohan", a pun on the name of the French Citroën automaker, for the modern industrial methods and materials Le Corbusier advocated using for the house. Here, Le Corbusier proposed a three-floor structure, with a double-height living room, bedrooms on the second floor, and a kitchen on the third floor. The roof would be occupied by a sun terrace. On the exterior Le Corbusier installed a stairway to provide second-floor access from ground level. Here, as in other projects from this period, he also designed the façades to include large expanses of uninterrupted banks of windows. The house used a rectangular plan, with exterior walls that were not filled by windows, left as white, stuccoed spaces. Le Corbusier and Jeanneret left the interior aesthetically spare, with any movable furniture made of tubular metal frames. Light fixtures usually comprised single, bare bulbs. Interior walls also were left white. Between 1922 and 1927, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret designed many of these private houses for clients around Paris. In Boulogne-sur-Seine and the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret designed and built the Villa Lipschitz, Maison Cook (see William Edwards Cook), Maison Planeix, and the Maison La Roche/Albert Jeanneret, which now houses the Fondation Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier took French citizenship in 1930.[1]

Portrait on Swiss ten francs banknote

Forays into urbanism

For a number of years French officials had been unsuccessful in dealing with the squalor of the growing Parisian slums, and Le Corbusier sought efficient ways to house large numbers of people in response to the urban housing crisis. He believed that his new, modern architectural forms would provide a new organizational solution that would raise the quality of life for the lower classes. His Immeubles Villas (1922) was such a project that called for large blocks of cell-like individual apartments stacked one on top of the other, with plans that included a living room, bedrooms and kitchen, as well as a garden terrace.

Not merely content with designs for a few housing blocks, soon Le Corbusier moved into studies for entire cities. In 1922, he presented his scheme for a "Contemporary City" for three million inhabitants (Ville Contemporaine). The centerpiece of this plan was the group of sixty-story, cruciform skyscrapers; steel-framed office buildings encased in huge curtain walls of glass. These skyscrapers were set within large, rectangular park-like green spaces. At the center was a huge transportation hub, that on different levels included depots for buses and trains, as well as highway intersections, and at the top, an airport. He had the fanciful notion that commercial airliners would land between the huge skyscrapers. Le Corbusier segregated pedestrian circulation paths from the roadways and glorified the use of the automobile as a means of transportation. As one moved out from the central skyscrapers, smaller low-story, zigzag apartment blocks (set far back from the street amid green space), housed the inhabitants. Le Corbusier hoped that politically-minded industrialists in France would lead the way with their efficient Taylorist and Fordist strategies adopted from American industrial models to reorganize society. As Norma Evenson has put it, "the proposed city appeared to some an audacious and compelling vision of a brave new world, and to others a frigid megalomaniacally scaled negation of the familiar urban ambient."[3]

In this new industrial spirit, Le Corbusier contributed to a new journal called L'Esprit Nouveau that advocated the use of modern industrial techniques and strategies to transform society into a more efficient environment with a higher standard of living on all socioeconomic levels. He forcefully argued that this transformation was necessary to avoid the spectre of revolution that would otherwise shake society. His dictum, "Architecture or Revolution," developed in his articles in this journal, became his rallying cry for the book Vers une architecture (Toward an Architecture, previously mistranslated into English as Towards a New Architecture), which comprised selected articles he contributed to L'Esprit Nouveau between 1920 and 1923. In this book, Le Corbusier followed the influence of Walter Gropius and reprinted several photographs of North American factories and grain elevators.[4]

Theoretical urban schemes continued to occupy Le Corbusier. He exhibited his "Plan Voisin," sponsored by another famous automobile manufacturer, in 1925. In it, he proposed to bulldoze most of central Paris north of the Seine, and replace it with his sixty-story cruciform towers from the Contemporary City, placed in an orthogonal street grid and park-like green space. His scheme was met with criticism and scorn from French politicians and industrialists, although they were favorable to the ideas of Taylorism and Fordism underlying Le Corbusier designs. Nonetheless, it did provoke discussion concerning how to deal with the cramped, dirty conditions that enveloped much of the city.

In the 1930s, Le Corbusier expanded and reformulated his ideas on urbanism, eventually publishing them in La Ville radieuse (The Radiant City) of 1935. Perhaps the most significant difference between the Contemporary City and the Radiant City is that the latter abandons the class-based stratification of the former; housing is now assigned according to family size, not economic position.[5] La Ville radieuse also marks Le Corbusier's increasing dissatisfaction with capitalism and his turn to the right-wing syndicalism of Hubert Lagardelle. During the Vichy regime, Le Corbusier received a position on a planning committee and made designs for Algiers and other cities. The central government ultimately rejected his plans, and after 1942 Le Corbusier withdrew from political activity.[6]

High Court in Chandigarh, India

After World War II, Le Corbusier attempted to realize his urban planning schemes on a small scale by constructing a series of "unités" (the housing block unit of the Radiant City) around France. The most famous of these was the Unité d'Habitation of Marseilles (1946–1952). In the 1950s, a unique opportunity to translate the Radiant City on a grand scale presented itself in the construction of Chandigarh, the new capital for the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana. Le Corbusier was brought on to develop the plan of Albert Mayer.


Against his doctor's orders, on August 27, 1965, Le Corbusier went for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. His body was found by bathers and he was pronounced dead at 11 a.m. It was assumed that he suffered a heart attack, at the age of seventy-seven. His death rites took place at the courtyard of the Louvre Palace on September 1, 1965 under the direction of writer and thinker André Malraux, who was at the time France's Minister of Culture.

Le Corbusier's death had a strong impact on the cultural and political world. Homages were paid worldwide and even some of Le Corbusier's worst artistic enemies, such as the painter Salvador Dalí, recognised his importance (Dalí sent a floral tribute). Then-President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson said: "His influence was universal and his works are invested with a permanent quality possessed by those of very few artists in our history". The Soviet Union added, "Modern architecture has lost its greatest master". Japanese TV channels decided to broadcast, simultaneously to the ceremony, his Museum in Tokyo, in what was at the time a unique media homage.

Visitors may find his grave site in the cemetery above Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in between Menton and Monaco in southern France.

The Fondation Le Corbusier (or FLC) functions as his official Estate.[7] The U.S. copyright representative for the Fondation Le Corbusier is the Artists Rights Society.[8]


Five points of architecture

It was Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye (1929–1931) that most succinctly summed up his five points of architecture that he had elucidated in the journal L'Esprit Nouveau and his book Vers une architecture, which he had been developing throughout the 1920s. First, Le Corbusier lifted the bulk of the structure off the ground, supporting it by pilotis – reinforced concrete stilts. These pilotis, in providing the structural support for the house, allowed him to elucidate his next two points: a free façade, meaning non-supporting walls that could be designed as the architect wished, and an open floor plan, meaning that the floor space was free to be configured into rooms without concern for supporting walls. The second floor of the Villa Savoye includes long strips of ribbon windows that allow unencumbered views of the large surrounding yard, and which constitute the fourth point of his system. The fifth point was the Roof garden to compensate for the green area consumed by the building and replacing it on the roof. A ramp rising from ground level to the third floor roof terrace allows for an architectural promenade through the structure. The white tubular railing recalls the industrial "ocean-liner" aesthetic that Le Corbusier much admired. As if to put an exclamation mark after Le Corbusier's homage to modern industry, the driveway around the ground floor, with its semicircular path, measures the exact turning radius of a 1927 Citroën automobile.

The Modulor

Cover of Modulor and Modulor 2

Le Corbusier explicitly used the golden ratio in his Modulor system for the scale of architectural proportion. He saw this system as a continuation of the long tradition of Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", the work of Leon Battista Alberti, and others who used the proportions of the human body to improve the appearance and function of architecture. In addition to the golden ratio, Le Corbusier based the system on human measurements, Fibonacci numbers, and the double unit.

He took Leonardo's suggestion of the golden ratio in human proportions to an extreme: he sectioned his model human body's height at the navel with the two sections in golden ratio, then subdivided those sections in golden ratio at the knees and throat; he used these golden ratio proportions in the Modulor system.

Le Corbusier's 1927 Villa Stein in Garches exemplified the Modulor system's application. The villa's rectangular ground plan, elevation, and inner structure closely approximate golden rectangles.[9]

Le Corbusier placed systems of harmony and proportion at the centre of his design philosophy, and his faith in the mathematical order of the universe was closely bound to the golden section and the Fibonacci series, which he described as "rhythms apparent to the eye and clear in their relations with one another. And these rhythms are at the very root of human activities. They resound in Man by an organic inevitability, the same fine inevitability which causes the tracing out of the Golden Section by children, old men, savages, and the learned."[10]


Corbusier said: "Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois."

Le Corbusier began experimenting with furniture design in 1928 after inviting the architect, Charlotte Perriand, to join his studio. His cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, also collaborated on many of the designs. Before the arrival of Perriand, Le Corbusier relied on ready-made furniture to furnish his projects, such as the simple pieces manufactured by Thonet, the company that manufactured his designs in the 1930s.

In 1928, Le Corbusier and Perriand began to put the expectations for furniture Le Corbusier outlined in his 1925 book L'Art Décoratif d'aujourd'hui into practice. In the book he defined three different furniture types: type-needs, type-furniture, and human-limb objects. He defined human-limb objects as: "Extensions of our limbs and adapted to human functions that are. Type-needs, type-functions, therefore type-objects and type-furniture. The human-limb object is a docile servant. A good servant is discreet and self-effacing in order to leave his master free. Certainly, works of art are tools, beautiful tools. And long live the good taste manifested by choice, subtlety, proportion, and harmony".

The first results of the collaboration were three chrome-plated tubular steel chairs designed for two of his projects, The Maison la Roche in Paris and a pavilion for Barbara and Henry Church. The line of furniture was expanded for Le Corbusier's 1929 Salon d'Automne installation, Equipment for the Home.

In the year 1964, while Le Corbusier was still alive, Cassina S.p.A. of Milan acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture his furniture designs. Today many copies exist, but Cassina is still the only manufacturer authorized by the Fondation Le Corbusier.


Le Corbusier moved increasingly to the far right of French politics in the 1930s.[11] He associated with Georges Valois and Hubert Lagardelle and briefly edited the syndicalist journal Prélude. In 1934, he lectured in Rome on architecture, by invitation of Benito Mussolini. He sought out a position in urban planning in the Vichy regime and received an appointment on a committee studying urbanism. He drew up plans for the redesign of Algiers in which he criticized the perceived differences in living standards between Europeans and Africans in the city, describing a situation in which "the 'civilised' live like rats in holes" yet "the 'barbarians' live in solitude, in well-being."[12] These and plans for the redesign of other cities were ultimately ignored. After this defeat, Le Corbusier largely eschewed politics.

Although the politics of Lagardelle and Valois included elements of fascism, anti-semitism, and ultra-nationalism, Le Corbusier's own affiliation with these movements remains uncertain. In La Ville radieuse, he conceives an essentially apolitical society, in which the bureaucracy of economic administration effectively replaces the state.[13]

Le Corbusier was heavily indebted to the thought of the nineteenth-century French utopians Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier. There is a noteworthy resemblance between the concept of the unité and Fourier's phalanstery.[14] From Fourier, Le Corbusier adopted at least in part his notion of administrative, rather than political, government.


Since his death, Le Corbusier's contribution has been hotly contested, as the architecture values and its accompanying aspects within modern architecture vary, both between different schools of thought and among practising architects.[15] At the level of building, his later works expressed a complex understanding of modernity's impact, yet his urban designs have drawn scorn from critics.

Technological historian and architecture critic Lewis Mumford wrote in Yesterday's City of Tomorrow,

the extravagant heights of Le Corbusier's skyscrapers had no reason for existence apart from the fact that they had become technological possibilities; the open spaces in his central areas had no reason for existence either, since on the scale he imagined there was no motive during the business day for pedestrian circulation in the office quarter. By mating utilitarian and financial image of the skyscraper city to the romantic image of the organic environment, Le Corbusier had, in fact, produced a sterile hybrid.

James Howard Kunstler, a member of the New Urbanism movement, has criticised Le Corbusier's approach to urban planning as destructive and wasteful:

Le Corbusier [was] ... the leading architectural hoodoo-meister of Early High Modernism, whose 1925 Plan Voisin for Paris proposed to knock down the entire Marais district on the Right Bank and replace it with rows of identical towers set between freeways. Luckily for Paris, the city officials laughed at him every time he came back with the scheme over the next forty years – and Corb was nothing if not a relentless self-promoter. Ironically and tragically, though, the Plan Voisin model was later adopted gleefully by post-World War Two American planners, and resulted in such urban monstrosities as the infamous Cabrini Green housing projects of Chicago and scores of things similar to it around the country.[16]

The public housing projects influenced by his ideas are seen by some as having had the effect of isolating poor communities in monolithic high-rises and breaking the social ties integral to a community's development. One of his most influential detractors has been Jane Jacobs, who delivered a scathing critique of Le Corbusier's urban design theories in her seminal work The Death and Life of Great American Cities.


Le Corbusier was at his most influential in the sphere of urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM).

One of the first to realize how the automobile would change human agglomerations, Le Corbusier described the city of the future as consisting of large apartment buildings isolated in a park-like setting on pilotis. Le Corbusier's theories were adopted by the builders of public housing in Western Europe and the United States. For the design of the buildings themselves, Le Corbusier criticised any effort at ornamentation. The large spartan structures in cities, but not 'of' cities, have been widely criticized for being boring and unfriendly to pedestrians.

Throughout the years, many architects worked for Le Corbusier in his studio, and a number of them became notable in their own right, including painter-architect Nadir Afonso, who absorbed Le Corbusier's ideas into his own aesthetics theory. Lúcio Costa's city plan of Brasília and the industrial city of Zlín planned by František Lydie Gahura in the Czech Republic are notable plans based on his ideas, while the architect himself produced the plan for Chandigarh in India. Le Corbusier's thinking also had profound effects on the philosophy of city planning and architecture in the Soviet Union, particularly in the Constructivist era.

Le Corbusier was heavily influenced by problems he saw in industrial cities at the turn of the century (that is, from the 19th to the 20th century). He thought that industrial housing techniques led to crowding, dirtiness, and a lack of a moral landscape. He was a leader of the modernist movement to create better living conditions and a better society through housing concepts. Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of Tomorrow heavily influenced Le Corbusier and his contemporaries.

Le Corbusier also harmonized and lent credence to the idea of space as a set of destinations which mankind moved between, more or less continuously. He was therefore able to give credence and credibility to the automobile (as a transporter); and most importantly to freeways in urban spaces. His philosophies were useful to urban real estate development interests in the American Post World War II period because they justified and lent architectural and intellectual support to the desire to destroy traditional urban space for high density high profit urban concentration, both commercial and residential. Le Corbusier’s ideas also sanctioned further destruction of traditional urban spaces to build freeways that connected this new urbanism to low density, low cost (and highly profitable), suburban and rural locales which were free to be developed as middle class single-family (dormitory) housing.

Notably missing from this scheme of movement were connectivity between isolated urban villages created for lower-middle and working classes and other destination points in Le Corbusier's plan: suburban and rural areas, and urban commercial centers. This was because as designed, the freeways traveled over, at, or beneath grade levels of the living spaces of the urban poor (one modern example: the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago). Such projects and their areas, having no freeway exit ramps, cut-off by freeway rights-of-way, became isolated from jobs and services concentrated at Le Corbusier’s nodal transportation end points. As jobs increasingly moved to the suburban end points of the freeways, urban village dwellers found themselves without convenient freeway access points in their communities and without public mass transit connectivity that could economically reach suburban job centers.

Very late in the Post-War period, suburban job centers found this to be such a critical problem (labor shortages) that they, on their own, began sponsoring urban-to-suburban shuttle bus services between urban villages and suburban job centers, to fill working class and lower-middle class jobs which had gone wanting, and which did not normally pay the wages that car ownership required.

The gradually increasing costs of transportation (of which fuel is only one element), and the decline in middle and upper class taste for the suburban and rural lifestyle has resulted in the repudiation of Le Corbusier’s ideas. Urban centers are now the most desirable real estate areas. Condominium living is being rediscovered as the preferred form of living in urban spaces from Nashville, TN and Columbus, IN to South Miami Beach, FL and Atlanta, GA. Most central business districts of cities now hum with residential activity after working hours, or are on the way to doing so.

Le Corbusier deliberately created a myth about himself and was revered in his lifetime, and after death, by a generation of followers who believed Le Corbusier was a prophet who could do no wrong. But in the 1950s the first doubts began to appear, notably in some essays by his greatest admirers such as James Stirling and Colin Rowe, who denounced as catastrophic his ideas on the city. Later critics revealed his technical incompetence as an architect. In his book Armée du Salut, Brian Brace Taylor went into great detail about Le Corbusier's Machiavellian activities to create this commission for himself, his many ill-judged design decisions about building technologies, and the sometimes absurd solutions he then proposed.

Le Corbusier ideas made influence on the artworks of legendary master of modernism in Poland Arseniusz Romanowicz creator of the most modern and impressive railway station in the world in 1975 called "Warszawa Centralna". Architecture of this station resemble Villa Savoye made on concrete pilotis.

Major buildings and projects

The Open Hand Monument is one of numerous projects in Chandigarh, India designed by Le Corbusier
National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, Japan
Centre Le Corbusier (Heidi Weber Museum) in Zürich-Seefeld (Zürichhorn)
A governmental building, Chandigarh, India

Major written works

  • 1918: Après le cubisme (After Cubism), with Amédée Ozenfant
  • 1923: Vers une architecture (Towards an Architecture) (frequently mistranslated as "Towards a New Architecture")
  • 1925: Urbanisme (Urbanism)
  • 1925: La Peinture moderne (Modern Painting), with Amédée Ozenfant
  • 1925: L'Art décoratif d'aujourd'hui (The Decorative Arts of Today)
  • 1931: Premier clavier de couleurs (First Color Keyboard)
  • 1935: Aircraft
  • 1935: La Ville radieuse (The Radiant City)
  • 1942: Charte d'Athènes (Athens Charter)
  • 1943: Entretien avec les étudiants des écoles d'architecture (A Conversation with Architecture Students)
  • 1945: Les Trios éstablishments Humains (The Three Human Establishments)
  • 1948: Le Modulor (The Modulor)
  • 1953: Le Poeme de l'Angle Droit (The Poem of the Right Angle)
  • 1955: Le Modulor 2 (The Modulor 2)
  • 1959: Deuxième clavier de couleurs (Second Colour Keyboard)
  • 1966: Le Voyage d'Orient (The Voyage to the East)


  • "You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces: that is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say: 'This is beautiful.' That is Architecture. Art enters in..." (Vers une architecture, 1923)
  • "Architecture is the masterly, correct, and magnificent play of masses brought together in light."
  • "Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep."
  • "The house is a machine for living in." (Vers une architecture, 1923)
  • "It is a question of building which is at the root of the social unrest of today: architecture or revolution." (Vers une architecture, 1923)
  • "Modern life demands, and is waiting for, a new kind of plan, both for the house and the city." (Vers une architecture, 1923)
  • "The 'Styles' are a lie." (Vers une architecture, 1923)
  • "Architecture or revolution. Revolution can be avoided." (Vers une architecture, 1923)


Le Corbusier's portrait was featured on the 10 Swiss francs banknote, pictured with his distinctive eyeglasses.

The following place-names carry his name:

See also


  1. ^ a b c Choay, Françoise, le corbusier (1960), pp. 10-11. George Braziller, Inc. ISBN 0-8076-0104-7.
  2. ^ Gans, Deborah, The Le Corbusier Guide (2006), p. 31. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 1-56898-539-8.
  3. ^ Evenson, Norma. Le Corbusier: The Machine and the Grand Design. George Braziller, Pub: New York, 1969 (p.7).
  4. ^ http://www.american-colossus.com/ American Colossus: the Grain Elevator 1843-1943 (Colossus Books, 2009) www.american-colossus.com
  5. ^ Robert Fishman, Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982), 231.
  6. ^ Fishman, 244-246
  7. ^ http://www.fondationlecorbusier.asso.fr/fondationlc_us.htm | Fondation Le Corbusier's English Version Website
  8. ^ http://arsny.com/requested.html | Most frequently requested artists list of the Artists Rights Society
  9. ^ Le Corbusier, The Modulor, p. 35, as cited in Padovan, Richard, Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture (1999), p. 320. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-419-22780-6: "Both the paintings and the architectural designs make use of the golden section."
  10. ^ Ibid. The Modulor pp.25, as cited in Padovan's Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture pp.316
  11. ^ Antliff, Mark, Avant-Garde Fascism: The Mobilization of Myth, Art, and Culture in France, 1909–1939. Duke University Press, 2007, p. 111.
  12. ^ Celik, Zeynep, Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule, University of California Press, 1997, p. 4.
  13. ^ Fishman, 228
  14. ^ Peter Serenyi, “Le Corbusier, Fourier, and the Monastery of Ema.” The Art Bulletin 49, no. 4 (1967): 282.
  15. ^ Holm, Ivar (2006). Ideas and Beliefs in Architecture and Industrial design: How attitudes, orientations, and underlying assumptions shape the build environment. Oslo School of Architecture and Design. ISBN 8254701741.
  16. ^ "Kunstler on Cities of the Future". Kunstler.com. http://www.kunstler.com/mags_cities_of_the_future.html. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  17. ^ "Le Corbusier: index". Centrelecorbusier.com. http://www.centrelecorbusier.com/index.html. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 

Further reading

  • Weber, Nicholas Fox, Le Corbusier: A Life, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, ISBN 0375410430
  • Marco Venturi, Le Corbusier Algiers Plans, research available on planum.net
  • Behrens, Roy R. (2005). COOK BOOK: Gertrude Stein, William Cook and Le Corbusier. Dysart, Iowa: Bobolink Books. ISBN 0-9713244-1-7.
  • Naïma Jornod and Jean-Pierre Jornod, Le Corbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret), catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, Skira, 2005, ISBN 8876242031
  • Eliel, Carol S. (2002). L'Esprit Nouveau: Purism in Paris, 1918 - 1925. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 0-8109-6727-8
  • Frampton, Kenneth. (2001). Le Corbusier. London, Thames and Hudson.
  • H. Allen Brooks: Le Corbusier's Formative Years: Charles-Edouard Jeanneret at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Paperback Edition, University of Chicago Press, 1999, ISBN 0226075826

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Modern life demands, and is waiting for, a new kind of plan, both for the house and the city.

Le Corbusier (1887-10-061965-08-27), born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, was a French architect originally from Switzerland.


Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.
  • Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light. Our eyes are made to see forms in light; light and shade reveal these forms; cubes, cones, spheres, cylinders or pyramids are the great primary forms which light reveals to advantage; the image of these is distinct and tangible within us without ambiguity. It is for this reason that these are beautiful forms, the most beautiful forms. Everybody is agreed to that, the child, the savage and the metaphysician.
    • Vers une architecture [Towards an Architecture] (1923)
  • The "styles" are a lie.
    • Vers une architecture (1923)
  • Une maison est une machine-à-habiter.
    • A house is a machine for living in.
    • Vers une architecture (1923)
  • You employ stone, wood and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces. That is construction. Ingenuity is at work.
    But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good, I am happy and I say: "This is beautiful." That is Architecture. Art enters in.
  • It is a question of building which is at the root of the social unrest of today: architecture or revolution.
    • Vers une architecture (1923)
  • Modern life demands, and is waiting for, a new kind of plan, both for the house and the city.
    • Vers une architecture (1923)
  • The object of this edict is to enlighten the present and future citizens of Chandigarh about the basic concepts of planning of the city so that they become its guardians and save it from whims of individuals.
    • "The Edict of Chandigarh," plaque erected at Chandigarh, India as an abbreviated form of the document The Establishment Statute of the Land (1959-12-17)
  • The city of Chandigarh is planned to human scale. It puts us in touch with the infinite cosmos and nature. It provides us with places and buildings for all human activities by which the citizens can live a full and harmonious life. Here the radiance of nature and heart are within our reach.
    • "The Edict of Chandigarh" from The Establishment Statute of the Land (1959-12-17)
  • Vehicular traffic is completely forbidden in the green strips, where tranquility shall reign and the curse of noise shall not penetrate.
    • "The Edict of Chandigarh" from The Establishment Statute of the Land (1959-12-17)
  • The age of personal statues is gone. No personal statues shall be erected in the city or parks of Chandigarh. The city is planned to breathe the new sublimated spirit of art. Commemoration of persons shall be confined to suitably placed bronze plaques.
    • "The Edict of Chandigarh" from The Establishment Statute of the Land (1959-12-17)
  • The truthfulness of materials of constructions, concrete, bricks and stone, shall be maintained in all buildings constructed or to be constructed.
    The seed of Chandigarh is well sown. It is for the citizens to see that the tree flourishes.
    • "The Edict of Chandigarh" from The Establishment Statute of the Land (1959-12-17)
  • Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.
  • Vous savez, c'est la vie qui a raison, l'architecte qui a tort.
    • You know, it is life that is right and the architect who is wrong.
    • Le Corbusier's reply upon learning that the housing project he had designed at Pessac had been altered by its inhabitants, quoted by Philippe Boudon, Lived-In Architecture: Pessac Revisited (1969) [trans. Gerald Onn]

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Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (birth name), (October 6, 1887August 27, 1965), known by the popular name of Le Corbusier, was an architect and writer born in Switzerland. In the 1930s, he became a French citizen. He is famous for his theories about Modern Architecture. His plans included the improvement of housing for people in large cities. This was because many people lived in poverty at that time. Many of his designs have been built across the world.

He also liked to paint and was skilled at designing furniture.


Early life

La Chaux-de-Fonds

Le Corbusier grew up in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small town in the north of Switzerland. In 1907, aged 19, he moved to the French city of Paris. He travelled across Europe, and learned a lot of new ideas. He learned to speak German and worked with famous architects, such as Peter Behrens.

The World War

During World War I, Le Corbusier went back to Switzerland and became a teacher. Soon, he opened his own architectural business with his cousin, and they worked together until 1940. It was in 1918 that he met a painter, Amédée Ozenfant, who would become a great friend. They combined their ideas to create a new type of art called Purism.

Post-World War

After the war, Le Corbusier concentrated on his art until 1922. After this, he began designing apartments that could be stacked on top of each other, to house people and meet their needs. This type of low-density housing was to deal with the problem of over-crowding in Paris. He said this transformation was needed, or a revolution could occur from the unhappy lower classes. He created a design for an ideal city (Ville Contemporaine) that was never built. It was a plan developed around a lot of skycrapers. He presented this plan to the French government, who refused it. This did raise their awareness of overcrowding in the city though.


Le Corbusier began to dislike capitalism, and said that people's house size should depend on the size of their family, and not by how rich they were.

Later life

Le Corbusier was not active in politics from 1942. Instead, he built "unités", smaller housing blocks around France. This is illustrated in the design below.

His name

The name, Le Corbusier, is French. It is a different version of his grandmother's surname, Lecorbésier. The name translates in to English as "the crow like one". He chose this name in 1920.

Famous ideas

  • Le Corbusier said that buildings should built with transportation, especially the car, in consideration. He was one of the first architects to suggest this, and now almost every city planner considers this when designing a building.
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