Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 - August 27, 1965) was the pseudonym of Charles Edouard Jeanneret. He was an architect famous for what is now called the International style, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, and Theo van Doesburg.
Born in Switzerland, he moved to Paris at the age of 29 and adopted "Le Corbusier", his maternal grandfather's name, as a pseudonym. He usually wore big round black glasses.
Le Corbusier was at his most influential in the sphere of urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne. 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 superblocks. Le Corbusier's theories were most completely adopted by the builders of public housing in the United States. For the design of the buildings themselves, Le Corbusier said "by law, all buildings should be white" and criticized 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. The city plan of Brasília was based on his ideas.
Since his death Le Corbusier's reputation has fallen dramatically. He is considered to have been an enemy of cities.
▪ 1928 - Villa Savoye, Poissy-sur-Seine, France
▪ 1945 - Unité d'Habitation de Marseille, Marseille, France
▪ 1950 - Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France
▪ 1952-1959 - Buildings in Chandigarh, India
▪ 1952 - Haute Cour
▪ 1952 - Musée et Galerie d'Art
▪ 1953 - Secrétariat
▪ 1953 - Club Nautique
▪ 1955 - Assemblée
▪ 1959 - Ecole d'Art
▪ 1961 - Carpenter Visual Arts Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
See also architecture, list of architects.
▪ Fondation Le Corbusier - official website http://www.fondationlecorbusier.asso.fr/
The first of his grand urban plans was the Ville Contemporaine of 1922. This proposed city of three million would be divided into functional zones: twenty-four glass towers in the centre would form the commercial district, separated from the industrial and residential districts by expansive green belts. In 1925, Corbusier's ambitious Plan Voisin for Paris envisioned the destruction of virtually the entire north bank of the Seine to incorporate a mini version of the Ville Contemporaine. Understandably, it remained only a plan.
More realistic was the Ville Radieuse (1933-1935), in which long slab blocks were laid out in parkland and where the housing types were considerably cheaper than the Immeuble-villas which filled earlier plans. A version of this was built at the Alton West Estate in Roehampton, England in 1958.
After the Second World War, with Europe's housing problems worse than ever, Le Corbusier got his chance to put his urban theories into practice. The Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles (1952) is a synthesis of three decades of Corbusian domestic and urban thinking. Seventeen storeys high and designed to house 1,600 people, the Unite incorporates various types of apartment, shops, clubs and meeting room, all connected by raised 'streets'. There is also a hotel and recreation facilities. It is now an immensely popular building, and a coveted address for Marseille's middle-class professionals today.
When Le Corbusier died in 1965, the backlash against Modernism was gaining momentum. His theories on urban renewal were plagiarised by local authorities on tight budgets, which often failed to understand the essential humanism behind Le Corbusier's plans. Ronan Point was the result. But blaming Le Corbusier as the architect of post-war housing failure ignores the deep concern for human comfort and health that underpinned his work.