Le Corbusier

Architect, urban planner, visual artist, designer, writer. Though as famous in life as Albert Einstein, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887 – 1965), better known as Le Corbusier, was a figure very different from what we call a starchitect today.

Born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a Swiss town in the Jura region close to the French border, in all his life and work Le Corbusier always combined Swiss rigor with more than a bit of Mediterranean spirit, which he inherited from his Romandy’s cultural background, admiration for classic and Renaissance art and architecture, as well as from his familiarity with Paris and southern France, the places where he lived during most of his professional life.
This combination of different cultural influences – as well as why to define Le Corbusier simply “a master of rationalism” is far from thoroughly describe his personality – comes out, for example, in his post-war works and many of his paintings.
The work of L-C mixes what we call today “modernity”, including in it also the technological revolution that characterized the first half of the 20th century, with a profound admiration for art history which is evident, for example, in the influence of Vitruvius and Leonardo da Vinci on the Modulor.

Le Corbusier Museum of Unlimited Growth 1931

Le Corbusier, sketch for the Museum of Unlimited Growth, 1931

Le Corbusier presenting the Modulor

Le Corbusier presenting the Modulor at the Milan Triennale, 1951

Even the nickname Le Corbusier (with its variant Corbu, and L-C), tells us something about his real character. The byname derives from the French word corbeau (raven) and was an allusion to the physical appearance of its owner, gangly and hook-nosed, chosen by himself in the 20s as a signature name for his writings and paintings. A touch of irony that perhaps not many might expect from a stereotypical, always serious, Swiss architect. And I bet not many starchitects of today would accept to be photographed while painting completely naked or kicking time with pretty unstylish local bartenders and fishermen on a hot summer day in southern France.

 

If you are planning to visit one or more of them, there are buildings designed by Le Corbusier open to the public in France, Switzerland, Germany, the United States, Argentina, India, and Japan.

Cover photo: Gisèle Freund, “Le Corbusier, Paris” (1961) © Centre Pompidou, Guy Carrad © Estate Gisèle Freund/IMEC Images


our articles about Le Corbusier

Government Museum & City Museum, Chandigarh

Government Museum & City Museum, Chandigarh

The Government Art Gallery and the City Museum are two state-owned museums in Chandigarh, State of Punjab, India; housed in two buildings by Le Corbusier
mymuseum
Le Corbusier – Monastery of Sainte Marie de la Tourette, Éveux, France

Le Corbusier – Monastery of Sainte Marie de la Tourette, Éveux, France

Sainte Marie de la Tourette is a Dominican monastery in Éveux, near Lyon, famous for its iconic architecture designed by Le Corbusier in 1953
mymuseum
Le Corbusier – Villa Savoye | part 1, history

Le Corbusier – Villa Savoye | part 1, history

History of Villa Savoy: client's commission to Le Corbusier, initial concept, the five points of new architecture, use of concrete and role of technology
case-studies
Le Corbusier – Villa Savoye | part 2, architecture

Le Corbusier – Villa Savoye | part 2, architecture

The architecture of Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye in Poissy, lines and arcs, dimensions, functional program, relationship with the landscape, the house today
case-studies
Le Corbusier, Unité d’Habitation – Cité Radieuse, Marseille

Le Corbusier, Unité d’Habitation – Cité Radieuse, Marseille

Also known as Cité Radieuse, the Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, France, is a famous residential building designed by Le Corbusier and a UNESCO world heritage site
mymuseum
Notre Dame du Haut – Ronchamp Chapel, Le Corbusier

Notre Dame du Haut – Ronchamp Chapel, Le Corbusier

Notre Dame du Haut is a religious site in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France, including the famous Ronchamp Chapel by Le Corbusier and a convent by Renzo Piano
mymuseum
Pavillon Le Corbusier, Zürich

Pavillon Le Corbusier, Zürich

The Pavillon Le Corbusier is a museum in Zurich designed by and dedicated to the famous Swiss architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, best known as Le Corbusier
mymuseum
Sanskar Kendra – City Museum Ahmedabad

Sanskar Kendra – City Museum Ahmedabad

Sanskar Kendra in Ahmedabad, state of Gujarat, is an Indian cultural center which houses two museums, famous for its building designed by Le Corbusier
mymuseum
The history of Casa Curutchet, Le Corbusier’s only building in South America

The history of Casa Curutchet, Le Corbusier’s only building in South America

History and architectural design of Casa Curutchet in La Plata, Argentina; the only building by Le Corbusier in South America
case-studies
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

The NMWA - National Museum of Western Art is a museum in Tokyo, Japan, primarily dedicated to European art, housed in a famous building by Le Corbusier
mymuseum

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