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Le Corbusier and the Continual Revolution in Architecture

Le Corbusier and the Continual Revolution in Architecture
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Le Corbusier and the Continual Revolution in Architecture

Author Charles Jencks

Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier dominated twentieth-century architecture much the way Picasso dominated painting. His outstanding achievements, his vision of a harmonious machine civilization, his paintings, drawings, sculpture, architecture, city planning, and writing together compose a portrait of the architect as 'protean creator.' Le Corbusier and the Continual Revolution in Architecture is a fascinating study of this genius who, like the classic Renaissance Man, was versed in many fields, but who was largely self-taught, who gained fame as an architect, but declared his profession on his passport to be 'man of letters.'

Taking into account recent scholarship and new theories of architectural change, noted architectural historian Charles Jencks traces the personal and professional development of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, who would be known to the world as Le Corbusier, beginning with his family background and early training in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, where he cultivated a regionalist style that would be the first of many aesthetic identities to be exploited and then shed throughout his long career. Soon after leaving La Chaux-de-Fonds for Paris, Jeanneret, in association with the Purist painter Amédée Ozenfant, gained fame in the 1920s under the nom de plume Le Corbusier, publishing the journal L’Esprit Nouveau and four seminal Modernist tracts: Towards a New Architecture, The City of Tomorrow, The Decorative Art of Today, and La Peinture Moderne (Modern Painting). Jencks demonstrates the influence of these classic texts by way of the architect’s major projects of the period: Villa La Roche, Workers’ Housing at Pessac, the Plan Voisin for Paris, Villa Stein, Villa Savoye, and the steel furniture, including the famed grand confort and chaise longue.

Through the 1930s and into the 1940s Le Corbusier’s next transformation occurred, embracing a new worldiness that included not only hand-built masonry but also an awakened sensuality, thanks in part to an encounter with Josephine Baker, and a shift in politics, culminating in projects for the League of Nations and the Palace of the Soviets, neither of which were built. After these last profound disappointments and the devastating interruption of World War II, Le Corbusier embarked on yet another transformation, this time towards a new Brutalist mode that saw the realization of the controversial Unité d’habitation and the truly revolutionary chapel at Ronchamp. Throughout these transformations Le Corbusier painted continuously, and Jencks explores the role of this 'secret method' of research in the development of Le Corbusier’s architecture.

Le Corbusier and the Continual Revolution in Architecture presents over two hundred illustrations including architectural drawings, plans, and photographs, as well as paintings, sketches, and publication facsimiles. With this illuminating collection of images and his revealing and provocative text, Charles Jencks has produced a compelling and comprehensive analysis of the twentieth-century master who continually stayed well ahead of his followers to reinvent the art of architecture over and over again.

Product ID: 459320     ISBN-10: 1580930778
Categories: Architecture, Art, Design
Supporting language: English
Platforms/media types: Printed Matter
Le Corbusier and the Continual Revolution in Architecture

Author Charles Jencks

Architectural writer and designer Charles Jencks is the author of, among many other titles, Le Corbusier and the Tragic View of Architecture, The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, and The Architecture of the Jumping Universe.

384 pages, 8 x 10´´

250 illustrations, 50 in color

ISBN 1-58093-077-8