Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier

“I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.”

This world famous quote belongs to an architect of his kind, The Father of International Style, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier. Wherever comes the name of Le Corbusier, Modern Architecture tags along. He blew the spirit of modernism in architecture and ended up with Bauhaus Movement, or in other words, International Style.

Corbusier, a celebrated architect, painter, internationally acclaimed urban planner, writer and designer was born on October 6, 1887 in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. Being the son of a dial painter and a musician and piano teacher mother, Corbusier’s inclination towards arts was natural. At the age of 13 Corbusier was enrolled in a local art school where he learned basic techniques of watchmaking as well as art history, drawing and aesthetics of art nouveau and ended up deciding to become a painter. On the other hand his teachers insisted him to study architecture.

In early years of his practical life traveling played a vital role. He frequently moved around Europe including Italy, Paris and Germany. Corbusier owes his initial ideas about architecture to these trips for it was after these visits when he started generating his own schemes regarding design. It was during this phase when he learnt some golden techniques that remained with him throughout his life like the use of geometric forms, incorporation of landscape as an architectural tool and contrast between large collective spaces and individual compartmentalized spaces.

The initial work of Corbusier comprised of smooth buildings with white concrete and glass structures elevated above the ground called “pure prisms”. Later in late 1940s he took a turn towards a new style called New Brutalism, which used rough, heavy forms of stone, concrete, stucco, and glass. Another major contribution made by Le Corbusier in the field of architecture was his magazine L’Esprit Nouveau that he started publishing in 1920 and kept issuing until his death. It would be unquestionably true to say that writings and books of Corbusier have inspired several generations of architects.

It would be extremely unjust not to mention the contributions of Le Corbusier in urban and city planning. He was an incredible city planner who discovered new courses for house planning and introduced people living in congested, underprivileged habitats with hygienic and disciplined environments with fair distribution of open spaces for the flow of fresh air. The best example of all times is La Ville Radieuse or the Radiant City. In this ideal city he made the intelligent division of spaces into discrete zones of living, working and leisure. He obsoleted congested streets and sidewalks, bustling public squares and untidy neighborhoods and traded them off with big highways, big buildings and big open spaces. Corbusier made the art of building more functional by interconnecting spaces. He gave this lesson to architects that separating activities of daily life is not success but combining them and bringing them together is.

Corbusier was found dead in a swimming pool, on August 27, 1965. The sudden death of Corbusier shook the architectural world and left an unfilled cavity. But still his writings and books are watering the field of architecture and yielding new ways of discoveries.

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