Le Corbusier – Towards an Architecture

Charles-Edouard Jenneret-Gris was born in Switzerland in 1887. He published his manifesto ‘vers an architecture’ and a journal l’sprit nouvau. In the First World War he designed the Dom-ino House in 1914. This was shocking at the time because the concrete slabs and pillars can hold the building up compared to walls holding the building up. He wanted to suggest that architecture should modernised because we have materials and technology which are developing.


He’s very interesting in regulating lines which is when humans react to certain patterns and lines. Le Corbusier suggest that the golden ratio creates a visually aesthetic and appealing look. The spiral in the golden ration are found in some natural organisms such as snails, and the patterns of seeds in a sunflower. This naturally occurring shape helps develop organic buildings.

golden ration.png

Le Corbusier liked creating products and building to suit the dimensions of the human body; he had this idea before anyone did. He used the diagram of the modular man which is similar to the golden  ratio when it relates to the human figure.

modular man.jpg

He suggests how painters have understood that times are changing and have modernised with time, they have moved on from painting landscapes as well as the progress of boats and planes and how they have developed through time. From these thoughts he began to ask the questions why architects are still designing the same buildings and not creating any original ideas. He looked at the process that engineers have developed planes to fly, by this he understood that form is important and buildings should be beautiful although function is more important! He is not interesting in pointless decorative features on buildings which is a same idea that Marinetti and Sant’Elia thought. The sky scrappers were designed by Le Corbusier, by thinking that if buildings could by vertical and not take up much ground space there would be more room for traffic and people. He had a new vision of architecture!

  • Villa Savoye, 1931 which was a house built for a private client. “the most beautiful house ever built”at the moment it is used as a museum piece.
  • Chandigarh Legislative Assembly – Indian government building.
  • Unite D’habitation, Marseilles 1952 which is blood of flats.
  • Notre Dame Du Haut de Ronchamp 1954, pilgrimage chapel which is different to his previous designs this was more sculptural.
  • Le Corbusier, 1923 a city of towers

I think that Corbusier is correct when saying that there exists a new spirit because I think there are always designs and products developing. Technology is improving which is allowing us to creating things that we may not have been able to do 100 years ago. The figure of the Caproni Ca60 supports Le Corbusier’s argument because of how the plane was developed further and further so the function was improved to be able to fly better. The way that Corbusier believes function over form is more important and that decoration stuck onto buildings is unnecessary are views that Sant E’lias believes. They both believe on designing for the future and not looking into the past. Although Corbusier designs buildings elevated from the ground so you can appreciate the surrounding area’s more and also the way he designs vertical sky scrappers so they do not take as much room so there is more for humans and traffic in cities. Corbusier enjoys designing products and buildings for humans to use which is a contrast to the way that Sant E’lias designs. He doesn’t take into consideration the space that he is taking up with his designs or the surrounding areas, he believes that the architecture is the only thing that matters.


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