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Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

Word Count: 2739

Le Corbusier is one of the most influential architects of the 20th century (his works/writings and Ideas) defined the works of architects across the world. In this post-world war two architecture, especially at Chandigarh we observe a marked departure in design approach from Villa Savoye(1929). This essay should analyse, discuss and assess with examples the validity of this statement.

Le Corbusier was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds on October 6th 1887. He started at Art school focusing on painting before he moved into architecture. The influence of Perret, John Ruskin and Tony Garnier can be seen though his early works. They influenced many of his prefabricated Housing designs and were critical to him in developing the five points of architecture. The points he developed were to create the perfect environment for living. These points included a free plan, horizontal windows, free faade, a roof terrace and supporting columns to make the building free standing. He worked in practice in 1940 creating mass production houses and villas. He then moved into more Artistic designs such as Ronchamp and developed some urban plans, some went unrealised. Baker (1996, chapter 1) His philosophys were mainly:A house is a machine for Living Le Corbusier (2008) and My own goal is to establish or re-establish harmony between people and their environment (Jenger, 2005 (1993), 46) Le Corbusier plays a vital role in modernism in the 20th century, alongside Wright, Gropus and Van de Rohe. His designs developed from structural geometrical structures with open spaces to more organic closed off spaces. I will discuss his change in design process throughout his career.

In the beginning of Le Corbusiers career he is strongly linked with linear designing. He incorporates the site into his designs. For example in Villa Fallet he uses a steep Gable on the North and South elevation to define the building from the surrounding forest area. Le Corbusier experiments with form and orientation on site. This helps to get the maximum design possibilities from the environment. Another example of Le Corbusiers very formal approach to design is in Villa FavreFigure 2 Site study (Baker, 29) Figure 3 site study (Baker, 25) Figure 1 Villa Fallet (www.miprimeravez.es)

Jacot designed in 1912. He designs a main structure using geometric shapes such as rectangles, squares and circles. He also creates several outdoor spaces in order to maximise views over the road and valley. Again in this example Le Corbusier uses his design to get the maximum focal points from the site. He also starts to develop the five points in this design such as openly spaced rooms and thinking about the journey a person takes through the building. At this time Le Corbusier was

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

Word Count: 2739

working with Auguste Perret in Paris in 1907, this increased his use of concrete in his designs. This is evident in Villa Favre-Jacot where he uses concrete, this compares to Villa Ferret where there is a large mixture of more natural materials such as stone and timber. The Dom-ino system starts to come into play in his designs. Le Corbusier worked with Du Boris in constructing the concrete column and slab systems. The positives of this can be seen in modern construction today, in mass produced concrete Houses and multi-storeyed structures.

Industry on the grand scale must occupy itself with building and establish the elements of the house on a mass-production basis. Le Corbusier (2008) At this point in Le Corbusiers history he taught Geometric studies and their application to architecture. This was to identify himself as an architect, interior Figure 4Site forces Villa Favre-Jacot (Baker, 56) designer and landscape architect. Maison Citrohan is a design that shows his developed strategy for concrete slab and column system. The design allows a person to move through the structure easily and is also highly functional. Baker (1996), Le Corbusier (2008)

Le Corbusier has based a lot of his designs on mathematic principles, the mathematics of a person and how they move through a building; these theories came together in Le Corbusiers modular man. The relationship of spaces using the modular man shows the average shapes and sizes of man as directly proportional to the spaces he inhabits. It shows the study of how the body moves, the spaces Figure 5The Modulor required to sit, stand, lean and stretch. These are all studies that come into play in Man (Le Corbusier, Le Corbusiers design process in Villa Savoye lasted until its completion in 1931. He The Modulor, 51) continued to create a strong connection between the building and the environment; he placed Villa Savoye in a central area on the site.

Le Corbusier intended to elevate a cubic volume above the meadow, the geometry of man poised above the geometry of nature Baker (1996, 1)
Figure 6 The Modulor Man (Le Corbusier, The Modulor, 67)

This portrays his development from just the integration of the surrounding environment in the design process, to the integration of man himself into the design. All components in Villa Savoye are designed around people.

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

Word Count: 2739

the fundamental dynamic of a curvilinear volume tensional against a rectangle Baker (1996, 10)

The basic geometry of the garage is laid out in stages. It usually starts with a square. A directional curve is then designed to highlight the central entrance. A transparent material is then used to give permeability between the garage and the meadow below. A access ramp is placed in the centre. The journey through Villa Savoye stars underneath the floating slab Le Corbusier designed on the first floor. There is a sloped access ramp so that people can be slowly introduced to the building. There are several important pedestrian entrances to allow good access between the outside world and the interior. The rooms are divided into public and private spaces. Le Corbusier uses long continuous Figure 7 Basic geometry Villa Savoye (Baker, 198) windows to introduce plenty of light and provide plenty of views. Le Corbusier controls this spatial interpnetration by handling his handling of solids and opaque and transparent planes, permitting views through in different ways Baker (1996, 7-10) These design processes in Villa Savoye so far depict Le Corbusiers five points of architecture. He has a free plan with plenty of horizontal windows. Le Corbusier has designed a free faade with a open slab supported by columns. He also designed a roof terrace that provides plenty of views and has spaces to allow people to gather together. So far Le Corbusiers design processes have been very structured and based on movement throughout the building. Baker (1996), Le Corbusier (2008), Le Corbusier (1961)
Figure 8 Design process (Baker, 200)

Le Corbusiers influence on architects of the late 1920s is very evident. It was the five points of Architecture and mass produced housing contributed most to the modernist movement. Architects like Alvar Alto who took Le Corbusiers functionalism and created his own interpretation. Works such as the Turun Sanomat newspaper building shows the start of this influence. At this time modernism was moving through Europe, it influenced countries such as Finland, Sweden and Norway. Another Architect also involved in the functionalist, purist and modern movements was Oscar Niemeyer. An example of his comparison to Le Corbusier would be in his work on the Brazilian Pavilion in America completed in 1939. Niemeyers use of ramps, open spaces and design around the experience of the user is the embodiment of Corbusiers works. More recent architects are influenced by his early works. For instance Geoff Miles design for his house in Bristol called the sugar cube, he writes:-

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

Word Count: 2739

Its my version of Le Corbusiers Villa Savoye, in that it adopts exactly the same principle of creating a simple unified space, which is really well lit, and uses a restrained palette of materials www.builderandengineer.co.uk(2006) The simplicity of the design mimics Le Corbusiers principles about light, proportions and simplistic design. Although Le Corbusiers earlier work contributed to his status as one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, his designs post World War 2 also helped the development of modernism and influenced many new architects. This change in design process may divert from his original principles but this new more organic design process add more meaning to his otherwise blank canvas. Baker (1996), Le Corbusier (2008), Architectural Association (2003), www.theguardian.com (2008)

Modernism at this time was developing from several sources, such as the introduction of the enlightenment, the development of technology and the result of social and political changes. In the US architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright were inspiring modernist organic architecture. Walter Gropius was one of these architects and was considered the founder of Bauhaus and Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe who was also designing modern organic designs. These styles changed depending on country. In Italy futurism ruled, in Russia constructivism was dominant. Expressionism was moving throughout Northern Europe throughout the 20th century. Le Corbusier was considered one of the main founders of the modernism period along with architects like Van der Rohe, Wright and Gropius. These changes in Architectural styles lead to Le Corbusiers gradual change in design process but ultimately allowed him to move with the times. www.boundless.com (2014), www.archidaily.com (2010), www.theguardian.com (2009), www.newrepublic.com (2014)

After Villa Savoye Le Corbusier started to move towards a more organic form of Architecture, he was still concerned with context and making the most out of the local environment. For example in Notre-dame-du-Haut (Ronchamp) he places the structure on top of a plateau on the edge of a forest. He orientates the building so that maximum views can be achieved. He separates the entrance and a terrace (also called the pilgrimage) in order to create a fluid journey Figure 10 Site Study Figure 9 Ronchamp (Baker, 262) (Baker, 261) up the site, through the structure and out to the pilgrimage. Instead of the usual geometric shapes and perfect curves and circles, here Le Corbusier is freer with his form. For example the concave shape of the pilgrimage isnt as geometric as other terrace designs. Its designed to enclose the chapel area and also completes the visitors journey by offering good views. In the south facing wall of the chapel Le Corbusier has designed a series of irregular shaped window with different depths to them. This effect creates a church atmosphere inside. It does

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

Word Count: 2739

however contradict one of his five points of architecture, it lacks horizontal windows. These windows are irregular sizes and orientations. It is clear to see that his work has shifted to a more romantic style from his previous rational style. The structure of the Ronchamp itself differs from Le Corbusiers five points of architecture in that it is not a slab supported by columns; neither is there a roof terrace. The only thing that remains from his rules are his use of open plan and the use of external stairs. The building does however follow the rules of the modular man, created by Le Corbusier to distinguish how man moves through a building.The chapel is placed in the landscape so that it reacts to its surroundings in a way that affirms Le Corbusiers belief in the relationship between man, nature and the cosmos. Baker (1996, 276, 5-7) Le Corbusiers beliefs developed and grew from his original principles. This change can be defined most in his designs at Chandigarh. This design was a master plan of the city Chandigarh; Le Corbusier planned the town in accordance with the human body. The head of the city was considered to be the capital complex. The heart the commercial centre and the arms became the academic and leisure facilities. The structure of the city didnt appear to adhere to Le Corbusiers usual strict geometric pattern. It does however fit more around his principles and studies on the modular man, it consists of a complex mixture of his designing methods. He does use some of the five points of architecture in his buildings. They are however not as pure as they are in Villa Savoye. He also continues to use concrete as his main material. This plan at Chandigarh has moved away from his strict principles and merged with a more organic style of designing. Le Corbusier at this point also uses more light in order to create a greater atmosphere with his structures. This change in design process hasnt taken away from Le Corbusiers most influential architect of the 20th century status. It makes him even more predominant in our history as he has inspired several generations of architects in different ways. Baker (1996), Le Corbusier (2008), wordpress.com (2013)

This change in Le Corbusiers principles didnt lose him any followers. Architects like Oscar Niemeyer who used concrete in similar ways to Le Corbusier were just starting to take an interest in his works. Niemeyers works also have that slight organic touch to it. Niemeyer uses many of Le corbusiers principles in his work. It can be seen throughout his works the use of free faades with plenty of windows, concrete shells, as well as:Lilting Lines and lazily waving curves
Figure 11 Niemeyer , Alvordao Palace (www.newrepublic.com)

www.newrepublic.com(2014)

Niemeyers works have slightly less geometry to them and more free flowing lines. This allows for his work to look more elegant. Niemeyer worked with Le Corbusier in 1936 and was greatly influenced by his works from this point on. Other Architects at the same time such as Frank Lloyd Wright were creating new styles under the heading of modernism. A great example of Le Corbusiers influence on

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

Word Count: 2739

Niemeyer would be through his work on Alvorada Palace. Here it can be observed that there are concrete supporting columns, a free faade, a very open plan but also some use of free flowing shapes. This veers off from the strict geometry of Le Corbusiers early works but can be clearly seen in his later works. Concrete was made popular by Le Corbusier but he may have influenced a whole generation of bad housing. Designs such as his master plan of Paris show a larger scale version of what almost every city in the UK has, Cheap, small concrete flats. Cheap easy to build housing was required after the destruction that the war brought, this housing now has created many problems now that stricter regulations have come into place. Although Le Corbusiers work at Chandigarh and Ronchamp are iconic and get recognition all around the world, there iconic status has depleted in recent years by their association with concrete, which is now considered a vulgar and cheap material to use. Le Corbusier was a very influential architect both before and after the war. www.archdaily.com (2010), www.boundless.com (2014), www.newrepublic.com (2014), www.theguardian.com (2009)

In Conclusion Le Corbusiers design process has influenced several generations of architects. His work has developed over the span of his career. It has been shown that the creation of the five points of architecture and his study on the modular man influenced all of his early works until Villa Savoye. These works were all strictly designed, usually starting with a simple square or rectangle and then developed from there. Post War Le Corbusiers work took a turn towards free flowing curves and focused less on his five points and leant strongly towards the modular man and the shape of man himself. These design principles can be seen in his works at Chandigarh and Ronchamp were mans experience and movement are predominant in the design. Architects influenced by his works mostly achieved similar highly respected careers. One downfall of Le Corbusiers work in my opinion was the interest he excited over concrete. Later in the 20th century many architects tried to mimic his works and failed. Thus creating many ugly, cheap concrete structures. All the work Le Corbusier did to make concrete an iconic material went to waste. Not all of his influence has gone to good use but mostly he has influenced a great number of architects. His design process has changed over his career but I like the way his designs develop from very simple shapes and ideas into something complex, yet still holding onto its original simplicity. Le Corbusier is definitely one of the mostly successful and influential architects of the 20th century.

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2 Bibliography:Books:-

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1. Tim Benton, Hilde Heynen, Peter Carl, Charles Jencks, Stanislaus von Moos, Mohsen
Mostafavi, Daniel Joseph Naegele, Fernando Prez Oyarz (2003). Le Corbusier and the architecture of reinvention. London: AA print studio. 4-170 2. Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form. 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press. 3-60 3.Le Corbusier (2008). Towards a new Architecture. 4th ed. United States: BN publishing . 5-289 4.Le Corbusier (1961). The Modular. 2nd ed. London: Faber and Faber limited. 9-239

Websites:1. E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil (2014). Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Le Corbusier.Available: http://www.answers.com/topic/le-corbusier. Last accessed 02/01/2014 2. John Wiley & Sons. (1996). le Corbusier Facts. Available: http://www.yourdictionary.com/le-corbusier. Last accessed 05/12/2013 3.e t dankwa. (2000). "INTERNATIONAL" UNDERPINNINGS. Available: http://www.neilstoolbox.com/bibliography-creator/reference-website.htm#. Last accessed 14/12/2014 4.Ramzi Naja. (2010). Research Paper on Le Corbusier's Influence on Architecture and Society. Available: http://blog.ramzinaja.com/2010/07/research-paper-on-lecorbusiers.html. Last accessed 14/12/2013 5.excel. (2006). Le Corbusier: toward a new legacy. Available: http://www.builderandengineer.co.uk/feature/le-corbusier-toward-new-legacy. Last accessed 17/12/2013 6.Steve Rose. (2008). The many contradictions of Le Corbusier. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2008/jul/17/architecture. Last accessed 17/12/2013

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

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7. Encarta. (2008). SUMMARY OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE. Available: http://www.essential-humanities.net/western-art/architecture/modern/. Last accessed 20/12/2013 8. Robert Twombly and Narciso Menoca. (2013). On Physiognomic Difference in Louis Sullivans The Autobiography of an Idea (1924). Available: http://raceandarchitecture.wordpress.com/tag/louis-sullivan/. Last accessed 27/12/2013 9.Vanessa Quirk. (2008). The Complete Works of Oscar Niemeyer. Available: http://www.archdaily.com/295992/the-complete-works-of-oscar-niemeyer/. Last accessed 30/12/2013 10.Dennis. (2009). The Brazilian Pavilion at the New York Worlds Fair. Available: http://modern-brazil-architecture.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/brazilian-pavilion-at-newyork-worlds.html. Last accessed 10/01/2014 11.Sarah Williams Goldhaggen. (2014). The Beauty and Inhumanity of Oscar Niemeyers Architecture. Available: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/111002/beauty-andinhumanity-oscar-niemeyers-architecture. Last accessed 10/01/2014 12.Brian Dillon. (2009). The spaceship. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/feb/14/le-corbusier-architecturecardross. Last accessed 17/01/2014 13. Andrew Kroll. (2010). AD Classics: Villa Savoye / Le Corbusier. Available: http://www.archdaily.com/84524/ad-classics-villa-savoye-le-corbusier/. Last accessed 19/01/2014 14. Marilyn Stokstad. (2014). Modern. Available: https://www.boundless.com/arthistory/global-art-since-1950/architecture--2/modern/. Last accessed 24/01/2014

Illustrations:-

Sarah Wright N0428885 DESN22076-Architecture in Context 2

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Figure 1. Villa Fallet - Issuu. (2013). Le Corbusier. (picture) Available:

http://www.miprimeravez.es/2013/01/le-corbusier-2/. Last accessed 25/01/2014


Figure 2. Villa Fallet Site study- Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form.(drawing) 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press, 29 Figure 3. Villa Fallet site study- Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form.(drawing) 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press, 25 Figure 4. Site forces Villa Favre-Jacot- Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form. (drawing) 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press, 56 Figure 5. The Modulor Man- Le Corbusier (1961). The Modular.(drawing) 2nd ed. London: Faber and Faber limited, 67 Figure 6. The Modulor Man- Le Corbusier (1961). The Modular.(drawing) 2nd ed. London: Faber and Faber limited, 51 Figure 7. Design Process- Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form. (drawing) 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press, 200 Figure 8. Villa Savoye- Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form.(drawing) 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press, 198 Figure 9. Ronchamp- Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form.(drawing) 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press, 262 Figure 10. Site Study Ronchamp- Geoffrey H. Baker (1996). Le Corbusier an analysis of form. (drawing) 3rd ed. London and New York: Spon Press, 261 Figure 11. Alvarado Palace- Sarah Williams Goldhaggen. (2013). (picture) The Beauty and Inhumanity of Oscar Niemeyers Architecture. Available: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/111002/beauty-and-inhumanity-oscar-niemeyersarchitecture. Last accessed 25/01/2014