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Le Corbusier and Modern Architecture - Essay Example

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Le Corbusier and Modern Architecture

From the very beginning of his life, Le Corbusier was interested in art. He studied at the La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School in Switzerland under Charles L'Eplattenier and architect Ren Chapallaz. The influence of both these people is visible in the earliest works of Le Corbusier.
In 1907, after extensively touring Europe, he worked in the office of Augeste Perret, the pioneer of reinforced concrete. Having gained experience there for three years, he moved to the office of Peter Behrens in Germany. During this period, he met a lot of influential architects like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, the effects of which can be seen in his works. In 1912, Le Corbusier returned to La Chaux-de-Fonds to teach along with his former teacher L'Eplattenier and to begin his own practice and continued doing this during the course of World War 1.
The first works of Le Corbusier show that he was very close to nature. Before he set out on his travel in 1907, he completed his first project, Villa Pallet. During the World War when he was working in Switzerland, he formulated various theories on modern architecture, emphasizing on structural frame of reinforced concrete.
This model proposed an open floor plan consisting of concrete slabs supported by a minimal number of thin, reinforced concrete columns around the edges, with a stairway providing access to each level on one side of the floor plan. This became the basic concept for most of his future projects. Le Corbusier envisaged it as an affordable, prefabricated system for the construction of new housing in the wake of World War I's destruction. Developed with the help of partners, Max Dubois and, Perret, the system differed from the then standard Hennibique frame in its idealization of floors as flat slabs without exposed beams. Its columns were perfectly straight posts without capitals, set in from the edge of the slab. This system freed both exterior and interior walls from all structural constraints.

Le Corbusier moved to Paris after the war ended. Here he worked concrete structures under government contracts and ran a small brick manufacture, but he dedicated most of his time trying to perfect his skills in the discipline of painting.

Purism: The Artistic Movement
In 1918, Le Corbusier along with disillusioned Cubist painter, Amde Ozenfant was instrumental in terming the movement Cubism as "irrational and romantic". His book entitled "Apres le cubisme", advocates his stand. Le Corbusier orchestrated a movement called Purism, which called for the restoration of the integrity of the object in art. Ozenfant and Jeanneret established the Purist journal "L'Esprit Nouveau".

Between 1918 and 1922, Le Corbusier built nothing, concentrating his efforts on Purist theory and painting. In 1922, Le Corbusier and Jeanneret opened a studio in Paris.

"Anyone could reinvent oneself": Pseudonym Adopted

In 1920, the name Le Corbusier appeared in his journal, an altered form of his maternal grandfather's name, "Lecorbsier". This change of name reflected his belief that "anyone could reinvent oneself".

Initial Projects

Maison "Citrohan"
Le Corbusier tried to design single-family house models. Le ...Show more


Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, later known as Le Corbusier was born in Charles La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland in 1887. He was an architect, urban planner and designer, interior and modern furniture designer, writer, painter and sculptor. His skill in designing modern spaces with minimum ornamentation made him one of the pioneers of the Modern Architecture movement of the early 20th century…
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