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Appreciating Le Corbusier?s Architectural Style

Architect Le Corbusier was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris in 1887, in La Chaux de Fonds, a relatively small town in northwestern Switzerland. He had a fulfilling childhood overall, and was sent to a school where he was catered to from a young age. His early years were full of skill and creativity, as his father was a watch enameler and his mother was a music teacher and pianist. As a teenager, it was expected that Le Corbusier would follow in his father?s footsteps, and thus enrolled in trade school to learn about watch-case engraving. While here, he found a mentor in his teacher Charles L?Eplattenier, who saw much promise for Le Corbusier in the area of fine arts. The teacher thought that he would be best suited as an architect, but Le Corbusier was somewhat resistant to the idea, as he enjoyed painting.

Throughout his twenties, he began traveling around several parts of Europe, eventually settling in Paris. Having been influenced by some of the great philosophers in history, he put this essence of beauty and harmony into his work. He was also influenced by nature, and created many open-air styles in his early years of architecture. While traveling, he became fascinated with the Parthenon in Greece, and used that as inspiration for some of his work, as well as his writings later on.

Le Corbusier liked to focus on the objects with which he came into contact. He began studying how something took up space, and saw that he could design ?geometric, stylized shapes and figures? (Kennedy 1998). When he went back to Paris, he began studying the fundamentals of architecture under building engineer Auguste Perret, which helped him gain a better understanding of structure. He later worked with his cousin, and the two began a lasting partnership designing structures with columns, concrete slabs, and winding staircases. He then changed his name from Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris to, simply, Le Corbusier, a variation of his grandfather?s name. He set out to design a series of villas, and began a specific design known as the Maison Dom-ino. His main priority was to create a new style of housing to replace much of what was lost during World War I. His concept was unique for the times, in that there were few ?structural constraints,? and ?perfectly straight posts without capitals? (Le Corbusier 2006). He continued his work on models of single-family homes, with some of his ideas being quite extraordinary for the times. He called for a three-floor structure where the living room, bedrooms and kitchen would each be on a separate floor, and a sun terrace would be on the roof.

Throughout the 1920s, Le Corbusier would develop a contemporary city plan, as he made his way from designing homes to larger apartment structures. As cities grew, he was called in to address the housing crisis, making cutting-edge places to live for the masses. He was seen as somewhat eccentric in his style, and had a vision for how Paris should look throughout the twentieth century. He hoped that the big cities throughout Europe would have towers that were created in a semi-circle, comparable to both downtown and suburban styles that we know today.

One of the things for which Le Corbusier is most famous is his five points of architecture. The main purpose was to create the antithesis of the decrepit cities that he found along his journeys. He wanted a modern look that was unique and had a great deal of open space. He was quoted as saying that ?a house is a machine for living in?, and believed that many people viewed their homes as more of a cell rather than a pleasant living space. Le Corbusier liked everything to be in proportion which he felt helped keep humans in balance. He even delved into the world of furniture design to help people to be as comfortable as possible.

The style of Le Corbusier was at the forefront of modern architecture. He developed the Purist design, and despite many critics, his designs are still mimicked long after his death in 1965. He is truly an icon in the field because of his vision to improve living conditions in major metropolitan areas.

References

Kennedy, R. (1998). LeCorbusier and the radiant city contra true urbanity and the earth.

Advanced Seminar in Policy Studies: Sustainable Urban Design, University of

Kentucky. Retrieved December 2, 2007 from

?Le Corbusier.? (2006). Le Corbusier: Architect Biography. Retrieved December 2,

2007 from .