Le Corbusier and the Esprit Nouveau.



Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887. In 1920 he chose the pseudonym "Le Corbusier", inspired by the name of a Belgian-born maternal great-great-grandfather, "Lecorbésier".


Le Corbusier's work has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and his legacy of thought and construction has made him a key figure in modern architecture. Le Corbusier's genius lay in his simple and 'naked' conception of architecture, which had to serve the needs of his time and not the outdated stylistic diktats. With more than 40 published works, Le Corbusier was one of the great theorists of modern architecture, if not his father...


After studying engraving and drawing, the man who was still called Charles-Edouard Jeanneret at the time turned to architecture and decoration at the age of 17. While his colleagues were working with wood, Jeanneret's first job as a draughtsman in a technical construction company was already interested in reinforced concrete, which was to become his favourite material.

His brief industrial career determined his vision as an architect and urban planner. In his view, the architect has much to learn from the industrial engineer. The engineer responds to a current problem with a clear answer and with economy. The architect, on the other hand, is content to reproduce what has been done in the past. The engineer's method must therefore be applied to architecture so that it reflects the times and is free of the classical and renaissance styles, which are obsolete to say the least.


It was while writing essays for the magazine L'Esprit Nouveau, which he founded in 1920 with the painter Amédée Ozenfant, that Jeanneret first signed his name with the pseudonym "Le Corbusier". Together, the two friends developed a new trend, purism, which valued simple forms and machinery and condemned all exuberance. Le Corbusier made it a point of honour to produce geometric, uncluttered forms, which he considered to be the most 'legible'. After a disagreement with Ozenfant, the magazine disappeared, but in 1923 Le Corbusier published a selection of essays that had already appeared in Vers une architecture, which laid the foundations of his vision of modern housing.



In 1927, the architect theorised the achievements of the modern movement through his "five points of a new architecture":


1) Piles to raise the height of the building in order to create more garden space and transparency

2) The flat roof; made possible by reinforced concrete, this type of roof detaches the building from its background

3) The free plan such that, since the floors now rest on posts, the partitions no longer have a structural function, leaving the architect free to place them as he wishes

4) The free facade with an envelope independent of the structure, which again gives more architectural freedom

5) The long window or band window and the resulting panoramic views, a true trademark of modern architecture


The Villa Savoye, which he was commissioned to build a year later, is the most faithful and radical illustration (literally, because he designed it as such) of these fundamental principles.

In 1945, Le Corbusier invented the architectural concept of the Modulor... The Modulor, a word formed from 'module' and 'golden number', is a standardised human silhouette that would later enable him to design his famous housing units, the most famous of which is the Cité Radieuse in Marseille. His use of these tools, as well as the method of the tracé régulateur, which makes it possible to determine the most 'correct' proportions of a building, show how concerned Le Corbusier was with optimization


The idea of a society rationalised at all costs, or even regenerated, is to be found in his words...

Whether by making reinforced concrete noble, by wholeheartedly defending the utilitarian function of architecture and the need for simple forms, or by seeking to optimise the relationship between man and space, Le Corbusier left his mark on the history of architecture. With projects all over the world, "Corbu" taught the world about modern architecture and urban planning!


Le Corbusier in 3 quotes:

- A house is a machine for living in

- Where order is born, well-being is born".

- Style is a unity of principle which animates all the works of an era and which results from a characterised spirit. Our era sets its style every day. Our eyes, unfortunately, do not yet know how to discern it.

Le Corbusier saw with only one eye!


Cité Radieuse Marseille


Source : artsper

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