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.

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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.

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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.


Frank Thomas Poster Developments


To begin this project off I started by drawing up very quick and rough sketches. By researching Spanish Civil War posters I noticed that the majority of posters were portrait therefore I wanted my posters to be portrait.

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Within the Frank Thomas reading material there were two photos of Frank Thomas. One of him in the war with a gun and another after the war with his nationalist army cap on. I wanted to use both of these images in the posters to represent his idea’s before the war and after. I have recently got a Wacom tablet and never used one before so I wanted to use this in the process of making the poster. I traced the photo’s of Frank Thomas creating an outline of the images. I found it difficult to use at first but once I had gotten the hang of how to use the tablet I was surprised at how quick it was to use therefore I decided to sketch the rest of my poster designs in this way.

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These are the first collection of designs for my first poster of Frank Thomas before the war. I like the way that Thomas is shooting and the gun is multiplied which creates strong shapes drawing you eye up the piece. The way that I have filled in  between the guns with red and yellow along with the Spanish symbols represents the Spanish flag which is patriotic which I like. The hands reaching up at the bottom suggest the Natzi salute highlighting the fascist views by some of the nationalists which is the side Frank Thomas was fighting for as he didn’t want a communist Spain. I don’t think that the text stands out very well and I don’t think the positioning of the text looks right. So I took my design to Ellie, Dan, Naomi and Beki to ask for their thoughts on the poster. They all said that they really liked the design but they think that there are too many colours.

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From this feedback I went back to my poster and started to think about how I would improve the colour scheme. I really liked the red and the yellow but thought I should limit the colour palette and make it slightly darker. Although I had an idea of adding a lion as they represent power, strength, fearlessness which are all elements that the nationalists thought they were so I wanted to communicate this through the poster. I have put the lion in red and yellow to anchor the Spanish colours at the top of the piece balancing the poster. The way that the lion is looking in the same direction as the guns and the way Frank Thomas is facing created enigmas in the poster engaging the audience. By altering the colour scheme of Frank Thomas and the guns to grey and black I think that this makes the piece look a bit darker which works well with the context of his narrative. The dark green background simplifies the colour scheme which I think looks stronger than the previous poster and I think that the grunge effect on the hands creates depth of field in the piece. I have cut down the text as in the previous poster it didn’t look visually appealing and I think that “Vamos Espana!” which means “Go Spain!” engages the audience more as it is shorter and more powerful. The text is aligned flush left as the top left was quite plain so with the text there it balanced out the layout of the piece more.

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My second poster represents Frank Thomas’s contrasting idea on war since he has experienced it first hand. I wanted to use the same colour scheme and style so they visually look like a pair although needed to communicate a contrasting view on war. The red and yellow stripes and grey crosses represents all the deaths in the war. The red and yellow ground visually anchors the Spanish flag in the first poster although the graves creates more of a negative ideology of war.The aeroplanes that are flying towards the middle of the piece make which reinforces Frank Thomas is the focal point as he is positioned central of the poster which is striking. I like the way that “La Guerra no es” (War is neither) is in the light grey as it stands out well against the dark green background, and the “romantica ni gloriosa!” (Romantic nor glorious) is black as it stands out against the red and yellow. I think that the way the text is at the top and bottom looks graphically striking and visually aesthetic.

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I am happy with the two posters that I have created as I think they work well together because of the similar colour scheme and style. But they also communicate the contrasting ideology of war, the way that Frank Thomas wanted to go to war for the adventure and glory and to be a hero. Although after he went he was disillusioned with the idea of war and he got little recognition so feels resentful about his experience.

Lee Fairbrother

In todays afterlife talk Lee Fairbrother came is who is a Creative Director at Accelerate, a design firm located in London. He has worked on many projects but two of his favourites are designing the app Bill, and when he worked with Olympic GB team and design the Olympic lion mascot.

This was my favourite afterlife talks so far and definitely one of the most motivating and engaging talks I have been to. Most of the talk he gave advice on how to be a great designer and where you was to be after you graduate.

Some points that he kept touching upon and really stuck with me is that always ask! If you don’t ask you can’t get and the worst thing you will get is a no. Another is ‘don’t be a dick’ how being nice will get you a long way as people will always have more time to work with you and help if you are nice. How you shouldn’t be disheartened if someone doesn’t like your work, as that is only one persons opinion but know when to take criticisms on board.


Marinetti, Sant’Elia and The Birth Of Futurism and Futurist Architecture

Today was my first study group for net-futurism, we began by looking at the futurist manifesto which was written by F.T Marinetti in the French newspaper Le Fiagaro in Paris on February 20th 1909. A manifesto is a piece of information that they want to persuade an idea, it’s usually very forceful and aggressive and this was one of the first manifestos written by an artist. Marinetti was a poet who wrote sang tumb tumb. Zang is the sound of a bullet and tumb tumb is the sound of explosions.He was interested in poster design and the way that words are written and designed and get people to think differently about writing.


In his manifesto he tells a story, he starts with a view of him and his friends in a dark room lit by hanging mosque electric lamps which is a clash of old a new. He described this as a single event that happened in his manifesto. They then jumped into their fast cars and he was inspired by speed and power which is a stereotypical masculine ideology. In October 15th 1908 Marinetti crashed his car with his friends by driving fast and was pushed off the road by two old people on bikes and ended up in a ditch. He climbed out of the ditch and had an epiphany and decided that he wanted to become futurists.

Marinetti was interesting on moving on in the future and destroying the past. He joined the army and fought for the Italians in north east italy in an area called the Isonzo Front in 1916. He fought with Sant’Elia who was his friend and an architect. The first unit they joined was a cycle regiment which is ironic because when he decided that he wanted to become a futurist is when he got knock off the road by two old people on bike! Sant’Elia was killed in the Isonzo Front, he was influenced by Marinetti and published the first manifesto in architecture.

He rejects the way that ancient buildings are protected, he thinks that they should be knocked down. Sant’Elia suggests that you can make any shape possible with new materials in buildings. He doesn’t like horizontal and vertical lines in architectural designs, he started to introduce curved lines in his designs. He thinks that decoration in architecture are absurd and completely pointless. The beauty in steel and concrete is all they need, they don’t need pointless shapes and decoration stuck on. He wants to ‘harmonize the environment with man’ which is a completely contrasting way to how we think in this time. We want to protect and help the environment and he did not think of that.

To some extent I think Sant’Elia’s view that decoration must be abolished depending on the context could be true. Within graphic design when it comes to web designing for example, decoration can be confusing and misleading therefore does not work well. As a website needs to show clear hierarchy and help the user on their journey through the website. Although I think that within the Art & Design industry, decoration can create visually aesthetic outcomes and can communicate messages through visual decoration. I think that it is inevitable to not borrow from the past as everywhere you look you are taking influence and inspiration from around you. I think that by taking influences from different sources to inspire your work can help create a more interesting piece. In my opinion I think that nostalgia can be appropriate in art & design and within my discipline. When communicating to a certain target audience it can engage a social group well. For example a middle aged target audience may have similar nostalgic memories which could be an effective marketing technique. I think that pastiche can be acceptable if you as a designer, not only pay tribute to the genre/artist but also add your own original creativity.

Spanish Civil War Posters

Spanish Civil War Posters

I have gathered a range of different posters from the Spanish Civil War time both Nationalist and Republican. They all have a graphic style with bold shapes and colour which makes all of the posters striking and communicating strong messages. In nearly all of these posters it includes the colour red which connotes danger, death and blood which are all aspects of war.

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Nationalist Posters

The nationalist posters that I have gathered all suggest how ‘strong’ and ‘powerful’ the anti-communists were in the war. The way that in lots of the posters there are soldiers by extending the right arm into the air with a straightened hand is a gesture that was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany which highlight the fascism in the posters. Another element that appears in nationalist propaganda is the symbolic lion which is an animal that represents strength and leadership. This is an ideology which the anti-communists feel that they are. Lots of Nationalists were religious and the Irish came to fight in the civil war to protect the Spanish catholic clergies this is represented in the propaganda posters by using religious emblems.

To communicate Frank Thomas’s experience in the Spanish civil war I have decided to  design a series of poster creating a narrative through text and image. I think that this strong and powerful style of a fascist poster would work well to represent his ideology of war being desirable and glorious before he joined. Although whilst he was in the war and after it finish his view on war soon changed therefore I think that I would need a different style to communicate these feelings that he had.


Frank Thomas Group Idea’s & Progress

As a group we decided that we would each convey Frank Thomas’s journey in the war in different outcomes. I decided to communicate his idea of before the war in contrast to his view on after the war through posters. Ellie is creating a Zine, Dan is designing a book cover, Beki and Elizabeth are creating illustrations and Naomi is making an animation. We decided that some of these could be shrunk down and incorporated into the Zine. We made a group chat so we can keep sending each other design idea’s and progress. I think that this was working really well and we would create a strong body of work linking to each others pieces. Although due to more members joining the group late and having little contact with them they seem to be creating there own pieces. I am worried that this will be  difficult to tie all of our work in with each other in the exhibition. Although we are trying to organise a meeting with all of our members so we can see how we can see the others progress.

Frank Thomas

When the Spanish war began  Frank Thomas was 22 years old working as a commercial traveller for his dad. A main reason for volunteering for the war was the desire of adventure and glory compared to his ordinary life in Cyncoed. In the western mail his father said that Frank had always believed that communists are to blame!

He joined the Francoist army of Africa where they helped the Nationalist Spain in October 1936 fight against the government. Frank Thomas was an idealist and wanted to prevent the spread of Communism. The British government threatened that any British person to go and fight on either side of Spain would spend two years in prison. Due to this threat by the British government he travelled by holiday cruise ship to Burgos then onto Lisbon. Thomas took part fighting with the nationalists in the capital city, Madrid. He then became a batman to his company captain so did not go and fight for the Jarama engagement in February 1937, which was seen to be one of the most horrific battles. Therefore he watched from the outside rather than being in the battle field witnessing the unglorified element of war that he had not previously seen, changing he perspective on war as a whole.

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The previous October a British photographer who took a photo of him in the nationalist advance in the town of Navalcarnero which appeared in some newspapers. Due to Thomas not going to fight for a particular side and joining the war as an idealist this is the small bit of fame he experienced. On his return to Navalcarnero for a rest Thomas noted that 127 men survived out of 550 who made up his bandera when it marched towards Madrid. The sixth bandera was sent south to help stop republicans against the battle in Toldeo. Thomas was promoted to corporal and found himself in a trench where he got hit by a bullet in his face which splintered his cheekbone. And as he quickly made his way to the main lines took another bullet in his leg, he rolled uphill through barbed wire to regain safety. This made his time in the war a short journey when he hung across the back of a mule heading down to Montes de Toledo field hospital.

Frank Thomas was sent to recover in hospital in Extremadura which was close to the Portuguese boarder. This town was another headquarters of a battle composed of Irish men who fought for Spain. Most of the Irish were religiously motivated to join the war to help defend the Catholic clergies which were committed by the republicans. The Catholic Irish were nationalists fighting for the safety of religious people in Spain. Thomas became friends with the Irish volunteers who were treating him in the hospital. He managed to get an introduction to their commander General O’Duffy who promised to help him. They smuggled him out of Spain in mid-june through Lisbon. They caught a Ireland-bound ferry ship via Dublin when he reached Cardiff in a fortnight.

Spain in 1939, the end of the Spanish Civil War.

Frank Thomas left the war early and snuck out, he was not the only person on either side to do so. As a professional soldier he felt guilty about his actions and it was not an easy decision. He received very little recognition of his time in the battlefield as he was disillusioned with the idea of war. He began to realise that the ideology of becoming a war hero doesn’t always exist and it is not as honourable as he was expecting. He became less enamoured and resentful of the nationalist side. At 23 Frank Thomas was hard-bitten war veteran who was disillusioned which many from both sides of the war were. As a young activist his idea’s have changed as he has experienced the reality of war and realise it is not glorious!

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