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Le Corbusier

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret
Born Oct. 6, 1887
La Chaux-de-Fonds,
Died August 26, 1965
Vers une Architecture (2nd
Ed. 1924)
Urbanisme (1925)
LArt Decoratif daujourdhui
La Ville Radieuse (1935)

Vers une Architecture

(Towards an Architecture)

Originally a series of articles

published in LEsprit Nouveau
28 issues from 1920-1925
Amedee Ozenfant (painter) and
Paul Dermee (poet, publicist)
First appearance of pseudonym
in essays on architecture as Le
Written to win recognition as an
intellectual and architectural

Vers une Architecture

Aesthetic of the Engineer, Architecture

Three Reminders to Architects
Regulating Lines
Eyes that Do Not See
Mass Production Housing
Architecture or Revolution

Aesthetic of the Engineer,

The engineer attains harmony through calculations and the law of
economy. He puts us in accord with universal laws.
Le Corbusier believed that Architecture schools werent teaching
students correctly and that engineers would be the ones who
save architecture.
Architecture is a thing of plastic emotion. It should use elements
capable of striking our senses, of satisfying our visual
desiresarranging them in a way that the sight of them
clearly affects us

Three Reminder to Architects

1. Volume
Primary forms (cubes, cones, spheres,
cylinders, and pyramids) are what create
beautiful architecture because they are
clearly legible, not the ornamentation that
adorn them.
2. Surface
Walls and doors of current architecture
destroy the form when they need to
accentuate it.

Three Reminders to Architects

3. Plan
The Plan is the generator of order. If the
ordonnance that groups volumes express
clear rhythm, and rightly proportions
volumetric and spatial relationships then the
mind derives a satisfaction of high order.
There is too much incoherence in todays
plans. Large cities are too dense for the
safety of their inhabitants but not dense
enough for the new realities of business.

Three Reminders to Architects

3. Plan
Further development of August
Perrets Tower Cities idea
resulted in Le Corbusiers
design of the Tower City
Starting with the American
Skyscraper, reinforced concrete
will make possible the
congregation of people into a
few isolated points, 60 stories
The air will be pure starting at the
14th floor. An indispensable calm
will be created by bringing
together efficiency, time, and
energy savings.

Three Reminders to Architects

3. Plan

Regulating Lines
Geometry is the language
of man.
Mans first established
order by measuring, which
he did by using his pace,
foot, forearm, or finger.
A module measure and
unifies; a regulating line
constructs and satisfies.

Eyes That Do Not See

1. Ocean Liners
Liners are a feat of
engineering that
show the
possibilities for
The first stage in the
realization of a
world organized in
accordance with
the new spirit.

Eyes that Do Not See

2. Airplanes
The lesson of the airplane is
in the logic that governed
the statement of the
problem and its
The airplane, which is a
product of highest
selection, shows us best
how form is completely
derived from function.

Eyes that Do Not See

3. Automobiles
Auto manufacturers
strove for perfection
standardization and
architecture works on
Standards are things of
logic, of analysis, of
scrupulous study.

Architecture: The Lesson of Rome

This part is mostly a commentary on Roman
Architecture (Ancient, Byzantine,
Michelangelo, Rome and Us). It is difficult
to tell whether he likes or dislikes what he is
talking about.
Since he is against decorative adornment he
probably dislikes most of what he talks
To put architecture students in Rome is to
wound them for life.

Architecture: The Illusion of the Plan

The plan is the generator that like a soap
bubble is perfect and harmonious when the
air is evenly distributed and properly ordered
Ordonnance is the hierarchy of axes, which
should lead to goals. Ecole des Beaux Arts
does not teach this.
The site should incorporate the views around
the building, not just the building itself.
Acropolis is a good example of this.

Architecture: Pure Creation of the

We say something is beautiful when the precision of the
modeling and disposition of features reveal
proportions that we sense as harmonious
Man is organized along an axis that is the same as the
one along which all phenomena and objects of nature
Laws of physics follow this axis
If anything is organized it is in alignment with this axis

Mass Production Housing

Technology has advanced enough that building can be more
economical with material. Central heating takes into account
the structure of walls and windows. Roofs no longer need to be
pitched to repel water and windows can become much larger in
order to admit more light.
World War I streamlined mass production and advanced
technology. These can further be applied to housing in order to
create more order and economy for everyone.
The only problem we face is creating the state of mind for living in
mass-production housing.

Mass Production Housing

This craftsmans house and
workshop is supported by a
single hollow reinforced
concrete column.
The 7 meter square house is
elongated by the 10 meter
diagonal mezzanine which
also allows the ceiling to fully

Mass Production Housing

Dom-ino Housing Concept:
The utilization of reinforced
concrete to support slabs
with columns away from the
faade allowing ribbon

Architecture or Revolution
Before now (1920s) the father of the house spent his entire
day working to support his family.
Often tutored his children to follow in his footsteps.
The 1920s brought along mechanization, depersonalizing
a workers job. The eight hour work shift allowed people
more free time for leisure.
While newspapers and magazines advertised luxuries that
were made possible through the emerging technologies,
people were realizing that the world was developing but
their homes werent.

Architecture or Revolution
New tools and machines were being developed that helped the
world around us but not our homes.
Ownership patterns favor the inheritor and not the earner. This
prevents people from building. However, this pattern is changing
and will prevent a revolt if people are able to build.
New building construction technology allows new design that can
mimic nature. This is a revolution in the conception of
Man is seeing his living environment rise up against him to prevent
him from pursuing the same spiritual path that he takes in his
work. Also a detriment to family life.

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