Le Corbusier | Legendary Trendsetter of Modern Architecture

“Architecture is the play of forms under light.”

Charles Edouard Jeanneret was born at La Chaux de Fonds on October 6, 1887 and later adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier. He came from a family of watch engravers in Switzerland, and his mother was a musician.

Centre le Corbusier, Zurich
Centre le Corbusier, Zurich

He grew to maturity in the intellectually stimulating city of Paris and adopted French nationality. He travelled extensively and learnt many lessons from the classical architecture of Greece and the Europen cities.

He became a powerful thinker of new urban theories and propounded a bold, modern architecture. In 1951, he was appointed Architectural Adviser to the Punjab government for designing the new capital city, Chandigarh. This city represents the expression of his revolutionary ideas and is where his greatest monuments have been erected.

Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright became the pioneers of Modern Architecture….

He lived his austere life and admired the simple and the useful. He was not only an architect and a planner but a painter, a sculptor, in secret a poet, a visionary whose view encompassed all that concerns man. Above all, Corbusier was a great humanist whose primary preoccupation was the welfare of man. He worked in India for a pittance and did not die a rich man.

He became a world renowned architect. He made revolutionary architectural designs…

Some of his Legendary projects are as follows:

  • Palace of League of Nations
  • Chandigarh City
  • Villa Savoye
  • Ronchamp Chapel
  • Le Corbusier Centre
  • United Le Habitation
  • United Nations Headquarters

Apart from designing buildings, he also designed the furniture. In 1940s, he entered into a partnership with his cousin Pierrie Jeanneret. Le Corbusier made plans and Pierrie Jeanneret executed them.

Furniture Design by Le Corbusier

Theme and philosophy

Le Corbusier was the most influential architect of the twentieth century. His works, ideas and writings laid the foundation for modern architecture and planning. In 1942, he developed his modular system of measurements based the human scale and the golden section.

Five Point Programme

Le Corbusier developed a five-point programme for a new and contemporary architecture:

  1. The Pilotis (posts)
  2. The roof garden
  3. The free plan
  4. The horizontal strip windows
  5. The free façade

Le Corbusier famously said that ‘architecture is the play of forms under light.’

Le Corbusier completely followed his five point programme in his project called “Villa Savoye, Paris”.

Villa Savoye, Paris
Villa Savoye, Paris
  • 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 one of the most recognisable architectural presentations of the International Style. Construction was substantially completed ca. 1929.
  • The house was emblematic of Le Corbusier work in that it addressed “The Five Points”, his basic tenets of a new aesthetic of architecture constructed in reinforced concrete.
  • The pilotis, or ground-level supporting columns, elevate the building from the damp earth allowing the garden to flow beneath.
  • 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 load bearing walls, consists of partitions placed where they are needed without regard for those on adjoining levels.
  • Horizontal windows provide even illumination and ventilation.
  • The freely-designed facade, unconstrained by load-bearing considerations, consists of a thin skin of wall and windows.
    Villa Savoye
  • The Villa Savoye was designed as a weekend country house and is situated just outside of the city of Poissy in a meadow which was originally surrounded by trees. The polychromatic interior contrasts with the primarily white exterior. Vertical circulation is facilitated by ramps as well as stairs. The house fell into ruin during World War II but has since been restored and is open for viewing.

This design project was the best example of his derived principles of design….

Death of Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier died suddenly on August 27, 1965, while swimming a Cap Martin. Besides his legacy of architecture, he left behind a huge compendium of ‘think sketches’, futuristic ideas and books containing his theories on architecture and town planning.

6 thoughts on “Le Corbusier | Legendary Trendsetter of Modern Architecture”

  1. We recently had the privilege of photographing a home built by Alfred Browning Parker, another modern architect and friend of Frank Lloyd Wright. As with Le Corbusier, these men of genius understood form and light in a way most of us cannot. The house we photographed was a brilliant work of art and infinite beauty.

  2. I have never heard of him, but I know someone who has a good deal of money, who built their home based off of a Lloyd Wright design. It is beautiful, and until you get up close with something like that, the “wow” factor can quite set in. These designs are works of art, but they are so functional too – its amazing, and their zen like qualities must be in the design.

  3. Hello,

    I would like to present you a web documentary project on Le Corbusier’s houses “Les Quartiers Modernes Frugès” in Pessac, France.

    “The Machine For Living In” is a project designed in an artistic perspective. It is participatory and evolutionary. Like the city Frugès, “The Machine For Living In” is intended as a laboratory for the life of this unusual area.

    Check out videos and photos of the project on the multilingual site : http://lamachineahabiter.com.

    Best Regards


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