Selected works Le Corbusier

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Transcript Selected works Le Corbusier

Swiss architect, urban planner, painter, writer, designer and theorist,
active mostly in France. In the range of his work and in his ability to
enrage the establishment and surprise his followers, he was matched in
the field of modern architecture perhaps only by Frank Lloyd Wright.
He adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier for his architectural work c.
1920 and for his paintings c. 1930.
His visionary books, startling white houses and terrifying urban plans
set him at the head of the Modern Movement in the 1920s, while in the
1930s he became more of a complex and sceptical explorer of cultural
and architectural possibilities.
After World War II he frequently shifted position, serving as ‘Old Master’
of the establishment of modern architecture and as unpredictable and
charismatic leader for the young.
Most of his great ambitions (urban and housing projects) were never
However, the power of his designs to stimulate thought is the hallmark
of his career. Before he died, he established the Fondation Le Corbusier
in Paris to look after and make available to scholars his library,
architectural drawings, sketches and paintings.
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• An idea for mass production houses.
• Uses reinforced concrete structure to allow the
architect to apply non load bearing walls
according to need.
• Intended to show how technology could be used
to free the architect from the constraints of
traditional building materials.
• Allows for construction of varied spaces using
one basic skeleton.
Both Citrohan House variants featured a long rectangular volume
with a glass wall that opened the double height living room to
natural elements.
At the rear of this light filled space was a mezzanine sleeping level
comprising a cantilevered reinforced concrete slab.
Below it was the dining area.
Children’s rooms were placed on the terrace roof above.
The side walls were weight bearing, reinforced concrete slabs
pierced by strip windows.
Window glazing was flush with the wall surface and the later variant
of the Citrohan House was lifted off the ground by pilotis, both these
features serve to enhance the impression of volume, the
smoothness and rectilinear quality of the walls and lightweight
construction of the house.
The houses Le Corbusier built at Pessac in 1925 also featured
coloured walls to emphasis their pure form and simplicity.
Maison Citrohan’The Immeuble-villa’ was a
maisonette unit with a double height living
space, alongside which was placed a garden.
Corbusiers intention was for each unit to be
stacked vertically, or horizontally to create
small housing blocks.’ p 13
The Maison Citrohan was of a similar design,
but placed on stilts.
Their designs were to be functional and
suitable for mass production.
Only one set of these designs were built, at
Pessac new Bordeaux.
His main designs were for wealthy families and
• These designs relied on basic elements from
the above.
• But for appearance he developed a basic
grammer and set of 5 rules.
In 1922 Le Corbusier exhibited the Citrohan House and a plan for a
Contemporary City. The two ideas were developed in tandem and provided a blueprint
for a new way of urban living. Whereas the Contemporary City would have required
massive state intervention, the Citrohan House was intended to evolve directly from
industrial production and market forces.
The Citrohan House (the name evoking Citroën
cars) embodied the ideas enunciated in Vers une architecture (1923). In that book
Corbusier had argued for a house to be mass-produced, to work as efficiently as a motor
car, and to function effectively as a machine for living in.
The Citrohan concept was
intended to provide standardized model to meet the demand for affordable housing. Le
Corbusier designed two versions of the Citrohan House, both of which were intended to
be prefabricated in order to provide cheap, rapidly constructed but permanent, highquality
accommodation. Both versions had flat roofs and roof terraces with a doubleheight
main living area, in which a double-height window, made from industrial glass,
occupied one wall, flooding the interior with light.
The second version was raised above
the ground on cylindrical posts, or piloti, providing parking, garage and boiler-room
space at ground level. There was also a large balcony, which wrapped around the front
spiral staircase. The Citrohan Houses were intended, like automobiles, to revolutionize
the housing market, not to provide minimum dwellings for those on the lowest incomes.
and sides of the building on the first-floor level, with an external staircase. Kitchen,
bathroom, bedrooms and a maid’s room were located to the rear, with some sleeping
accommodation provided on the gallery of the living room, accessed via an internal
Pilotis; to life the house off the ground.
The Free Plan; the framed construction of the building
allowing the interior space to be organised as desired.
The Free Facade; Since the external walls were not loadbearing, they could be divided up wherever necessary by
windows or other apertures.
The Ribbon Window; a long horizontal window
The Roof Garden; Intended to replace the ground covered
by the house and bring its inhabitants into direct
relationship with nature.
The main body of the house was to be away from ground level.
Internal furniture was to be designed to be functional and not
decorational. Pieces were to be built into the fabric of the
To replace a chaotic unorganised mess with slums and a lack of
nature, he proposed a zoned city where things like housing,
industry and administration occupied specific areas.
• These would be connected by networks for cars, trains and
• Concrete allowed to build high giving room for parks.
In his city plan for 3 million at the heart was a traffic terminus,
then high rise glass skyscrapers for the central commercial
district. Then housing for those who worked in the towers.
• A green belt separates this from the manufacturing area and
another divides the housing for those working in the factories.
• However this design was seen as elitist as it subordinates the
workers to the outskirts of the city.
The Ville Contemporaine was an unrealised project to house three million inhabitants designed by the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier in
The centerpiece of Corbusier's utopian, urban plan was a group of sixty-story cruciform skyscrapers built on steel frames and encased in curtain
walls of glass. The skyscrapers housed both offices and the flats of the most wealthy inhabitants. These skyscrapers were set within large,
rectangular park-like green spaces.
At the center of the planned city was a transportation hub which would house depots for buses and trains as well as highway intersections and at
the top, an airport.
Le Corbusier segregated the 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 multi-story zigzag blocks set in green space and set far back from the street housed the
proletarian workers.
Pavillion Suisse was a residential student housing block that
represented a movement into a new phase of design.
• It was a reworking of his 5 points where there was now a
grander and more powerful architectural language.
His design also changed eg, the Pilotis were now irregular.
• his approach to finding a completely modernist movement
In 1930, Le Corbusier was
tasked with designing a
dormitory that would house
Swiss students at the Cité
Internationale Universitaire in
At first the architect and Pierre
Jeanneret, his partner at the
time, refused to take on the
project due to tensions with the
Swiss after their handling of
the architects’ proposal for the
League of Nations competition.
Eventually, however, they
agreed to see it through and
worked on a very limited
budget, which led the building
to become a summation of Le
Corbusier’s modern principles,
forcing him to focus on
dwelling before all else.
The Swiss Pavilion, or
Pavillon Suisse, employed
the architect’s five points of
architecture, building on
them throughout the
design. The building is
elevated on pilotis that are
close to its center,
accentuating the ‘floating’
effect. The roof garden
gives back to the city and
serves the residents of the
building, although it is not
as animated as that of the
Unite d’Habitation in
Three frames give the
garden a view and reveal
the unsophisticated
structural elements.
The Villa Savoye is considered by many to be the seminal work
of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Situated at Poissy, outside
of Paris, it is an iconic architectural example of early
modernism, the so-called International Style. Construction was
completed circa 1929 but fell into disrepair during World War II.
It has since been fully restored and is open for viewing.
The house addressed "The Five Points", his basic tenets of a
new aesthetic of architecture:
The pilotis, or ground-level supporting columns, elevating
the building.
A flat roof terrace reclaims the area of the building site for
domestic purposes, including a garden area.
The free plan, made possible by the elimination of loadbearing walls.
Horizontal windows provide even illumination and
The freely-designed facade, unconstrained by load-bearing
considerations, consists of a thin skin of wall and windows.
This house in many ways defined the course that
modern architecture was to take in the 20th Century.
An early and classic exemplar of the "International
Style", in which the mass of the building hovers
above a grass plane on thin concrete pilotti, with
strip windows, and a flat roof with a deck area, ramp,
and a few contained touches of curvaceous walls.
The last in a series of white houses designed by
architect Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye was designed as
a weekend country house for the wealthy Savoye
family and is situated just outside of the small village
of Poissy in a meadow surrounded by mature trees.
The intention was to cause as little disturbance as
possible to the existing natural surroundings. Le
Corbusier put a lot of consideration into how people
were to experience the house. The approach and
initial experiences were of great importance, arriving
by vehicle at the site would be integrated into the
experience of the house. The house would appear
majestically from behind a screen of thick trees, thus
maximising the impact.
The Savoyes lived in the house until 1940.
During the Second World War the house
was occupied first by Germans and then
Allies, and seriously damaged. It came
into possession of the town of Poissy in
1958, which used it as a youth centre and
then considered demolishing it.
However, after the protest of architects
who felt it should be saved, and with
support from Le Corbusier, the house was
protected. In 1965 it became listed as a
historic monument, and from 1985 through
1997 complete restoration work was
The restoration has included structural
and surface repairs to the facades and
terraces, rewiring, and installation of
security cameras and lights. The original
colours and fixtures and fittings reinstated
where possible. The polychromatic interior
was intended to create contrast with the
primarily white exterior.
The design of the house goes
against the traditional codes of
residential architecture,
instead it is a representation of
a new vision in the form of
functional architecture.
Vertical circulation is
facilitated by ramps as well as
stairs and the geometry of the
house is designed to ensure
that as people move through
the spaces they experience the
harmony between the
architectural forms and the
play of light.