Le Corbusier | A Man Who Could Create Just Anything

Le Corbusier | A Man Who Could Create Just Anything image

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris a.k.a. Le Corbusier went down in history as a designer who could create just about anything. This pompous reverence of one man from a generation like the 20th century characterized by so many legendary designers and architects may look unwarranted, but a careful examination of Le Corbusier’s five decades career reveals a lot to be admired and worthy of universal acclamation.

Early Life 

Le Corbusier was born on 6th October 1887 to Edouard Jeanneret and Madame Jeannerct-Perrct in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland and named Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris but after moving to Paris in 1917 acquired the pseudo-name, Le Corbusier which would become his trademark throughout his long career.

Le Corbusier | A Man Who Could Create Just Anything image
Madame, La Table Est Dressée - Le Corbusie 1961

In his young age, Le Corbusier spent most of his time running errands in his father’s workshop where he used to paint dials for watches, or attending the piano classes with his mum who taught it. He left primary school at the age of 13 to go to Arts Décoratifs at La Chaux-de-Fonds and learn the art of engraving and enameling watch faces, to follow in his father’s footsteps. There Le Corbusier met L’Eplattenier who taught him art history and inspired him to delve into architecture, a field which he would revolutionize and produce monumental works to be admired by generations.

Le Corbusier - Early Design And Architecture Career

Le Corbusier’s career in design and architecture began with the design of a home house in 1907 aged 20, and went ahead to travel across central Europe and the Mediterranean touring architectural monuments and other works in Paris, Rome, Vienna and Munich. Sometimes the tours included apprenticeships with renowned architects like Peter Behrens, with whom Le Corbusier worked between October 1910 and March 1911, near Berlin, and Auguste Perret, a structural rationalist.

These trips equipped Le Corbusier with better understanding of architectural concepts and a breakthrough in innovativeness by appreciating things like the contrast between large collective spaces and individual compartmentalized spaces, classical proportion via Renaissance architecture; and geometric forms and the use of landscape as an architectural tool.

Le Corbusier | A Man Who Could Create Just Anything image
Palace Of Assembly In Chandigarh, India - Le Corbusier 1947

In 1912, Le Corbusier went back to his former college, La Chaux-de-Fonds as a teacher, where he taught alongside L’ Eplattenier. During the same time he started his own architectural consortium, where he designed several buildings and experimented with reinforced concrete as a structural frame.

Life And Work In Paris

Le Corbusier moved to Paris in 1917 and worked as the government architect on concrete structures projects, while also devoting more time to painting. His most notable work in painting is the Après le cubisme (After Cubism), a book seeking to dismiss cubism in favor of a new artistic movement known as purism. In 1920, together with Paul Dermee, they established the journal L’Esprit Nouveau (The New Spirit), a purist avant-garde review.

New Theories In Architecture

In 1923, Le Corbusier published yet another work Vers une Architecture (Toward a New Architecture), which drew inspiration from the L’Esprit Nouveau. In this publication, Corbusier and his group opposed the traditional nonstructural, artistic decorative practices in architecture and tried to promote pure functionalism. This marked the beginning of his many designs in which form was drawn from function.

Varying Design Approaches From Around The World Image
Varying Design Approaches From Around The World

The new movement gave birth to works like the Citrohan and contemporary cities, and immensely dominated Corbusier’s works of the 1920s.

Economics And Architecture

In the 1930s, Le Corbusier took a new turn in his design, abandoning the class-based approach to house design which over the last decades focused more on the economic status of the user, and adopted pure functionalism which only kept in mind the intended use of the house. The most iconic product of the new approach was documented in the La Ville radieuse (Radiant City) published in 1935. It included new formulations on the theories of urbanism, and would later influence a lot in the planning of cities like Stockholm.

Through a combination of avid scholarship and intimate practice of architecture, Le Corbusier made great contributions to the industry and laid the foundation for what is now popularly known as modern architecture.


  • http://architect.architecture.sk/le-corbusier-architect/le-corbusier-architect.php
  • http://www.biography.com/people/le-corbusier-9376609#the-radiant-city
  • http://www.fondationlecorbusier.fr/corbuweb/morpheus.aspx?sysId=11&sysLanguage=en-en
  • http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/le_corbusier.html

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