124 Facts About Le Corbusier


Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is regarded as modern architecture.


Le Corbusier was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930.


Le Corbusier's career spanned five decades, and he designed buildings in Europe, Japan, India, and North and South America.


Le Corbusier considered that "the roots of modern architecture are to be found in Viollet-le-Duc".


Le Corbusier prepared the master plan for the city of Chandigarh in India, and contributed specific designs for several buildings there, especially the government buildings.


Le Corbusier designed well-known furniture such as the LC4 Chaise Lounge Chair, and the ALC-3001 chair.


Le Corbusier was attracted to the visual arts; at the age of fifteen, he entered the municipal art school in La-Chaux-de-Fonds which taught the applied arts connected with watchmaking.


Le Corbusier wrote later that L'Eplattenier had made him "a man of the woods" and taught him about painting from nature.


Le Corbusier reported later that it was the art teacher L'Eplattenier who made him choose architecture.


Le Corbusier began teaching himself by going to the library to read about architecture and philosophy, visiting museums, sketching buildings, and constructing them.


Le Corbusier spoke of what he saw during this trip in many of his books, and it was the subject of his last book, Le Voyage d'Orient.


Le Corbusier designed the new house in less than a month.


Le Corbusier concentrated on theoretical architectural studies using modern techniques.


Le Corbusier refined the idea in his 1927 book on the Five Points of a New Architecture.


Le Corbusier was given a large budget and the freedom to design not only the house but to create the interior decoration and choose the furniture.


Le Corbusier moved to Paris definitively in 1917 and began his architectural practise with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, a partnership that would last until the 1950s, with an interruption in the World War II years.


In 1918, Le Corbusier met the Cubist painter Amedee Ozenfant, in whom he recognised a kindred spirit.


Ozenfant and Le Corbusier began writing for a new journal, L'Esprit Nouveau, and promoted with energy and imagination his ideas of architecture.


Between 1918 and 1922, Le Corbusier did not build anything, concentrating his efforts on Purist theory and painting.


In 1922 and 1923, Le Corbusier devoted himself to advocating his new concepts of architecture and urban planning in a series of polemical articles published in L'Esprit Nouveau.


An important early work of Le Corbusier was the Esprit Nouveau Pavilion, built for the 1925 Paris International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, the event which later gave Art Deco its name.


Le Corbusier built the pavilion in collaboration with Amedee Ozenfant and with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret.


The plot was forested, and exhibitors could not cut down trees, so Le Corbusier built his pavilion with a tree in the centre, emerging through a hole in the roof.


Le Corbusier had to appeal to the Ministry of Fine Arts, which ordered that fence be taken down.


Le Corbusier proposed to bulldoze a large area north of the Seine and replace the narrow streets, monuments and houses with giant sixty-story cruciform towers placed within an orthogonal street grid and park-like green space.


Le Corbusier's scheme was met with criticism and scorn from French politicians and industrialists, although they were favourable to the ideas of Taylorism and Fordism underlying his designs.


In 1925, Le Corbusier combined a series of articles about decorative art from "L'Esprit Nouveau" into a book, L'art decoratif d'aujourd'hui.


The book became a manifesto for those who opposed the more traditional styles of the decorative arts; In the 1930s, as Le Corbusier predicted, the modernized versions of Louis Philippe and Louis XVI furniture and the brightly coloured wallpapers of stylized roses were replaced by a more sober, more streamlined style.


Gradually the modernism and functionality proposed by Le Corbusier overtook the more ornamental style.


The shorthand titles that Le Corbusier used in the book, 1925 Expo: Arts Deco were adapted in 1966 by the art historian Bevis Hillier for a catalogue of an exhibition on the style, and in 1968 in the title of a book, Art Deco of the 20s and 30s.


Le Corbusier described this project in detail in one of his best-known essays, the Five Points of Architecture.


Thanks to his passionate articles in L'Esprit Nouveau, his participation in the 1925 Decorative Arts Exposition and the conferences he gave on the new spirit of architecture, Le Corbusier had become well known in the architectural world, though he had only built residences for wealthy clients.


Le Corbusier was not discouraged; he presented his plans to the public in articles and lectures to show the opportunity that the League of Nations had missed.


In 1926, Le Corbusier received the opportunity he had been looking for; he was commissioned by a Bordeaux industrialist, Henry Fruges, a fervent admirer of his ideas on urban planning, to build a complex of worker housing, the Cite Fruges, at Pessac, a suburb of Bordeaux.


Le Corbusier described Pessac as "A little like a Balzac novel", a chance to create a whole community for living and working.


In 1928, Le Corbusier took a major step toward establishing modernist architecture as the dominant European style.


Le Corbusier had met with many of the leading German and Austrian modernists during the competition for the League of Nations in 1927.


Le Corbusier saw the new society founded in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution as a promising laboratory for his architectural ideas.


Le Corbusier met the Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov during the 1925 Decorative Arts Exposition in Paris, and admired the construction of Melnikov's constructivist USSR pavilion, the only truly modernist building in the Exposition other than his own Esprit Nouveau pavilion.


Le Corbusier contributed a highly original plan, a low-level complex of circular and rectangular buildings and a rainbow-like arch from which the roof of the main meeting hall was suspended.


Between 1928 and 1934, as Le Corbusier's reputation grew, he received commissions to construct a wide variety of buildings.


Le Corbusier constructed the Swiss Pavilion in the Cite Universitaire in Paris with 46 units of student housing,.


Le Corbusier designed furniture to go with the building; the main salon was decorated with a montage of black-and-white photographs of nature.


Le Corbusier believed that his new, modern architectural forms would provide an organizational solution that would raise the quality of life for the working classes.


Le Corbusier's plan featured tall office towers surrounded by lower residential blocks in a park setting.


Le Corbusier segregated pedestrian circulation paths from the roadways and created an elaborate road network.


Le Corbusier returned with drawings of his vision for Rio de Janeiro; he sketched serpentine multi-story apartment buildings on pylons, like inhabited highways, winding through Rio de Janeiro.


In 1935, Le Corbusier made his first visit to the United States.


Le Corbusier wrote a book describing his experiences in the States, Quand Les cathedrales etaient blanches, Voyage au pays des timides whose title expressed his view of the lack of boldness in American architecture.


Le Corbusier wrote a great deal but built very little in the late 1930s.


Le Corbusier immediately began to design a new type of modular housing unit, which he called the Maison Loucheur, which would be suitable for the project.


The standardisation of apartment buildings was the essence of what Le Corbusier termed the Ville Radieuse or "radiant city", in a new book published in 1935.


Le Corbusier moved to Vichy for a time, where the collaborationist government of Marshal Philippe Petain was located, offering his services for architectural projects, including his plan for the reconstruction of Algiers, but they were rejected.


Le Corbusier continued writing, completing Sur les Quatres routes in 1941.


Le Corbusier became for a time a technical adviser at Alexis Carrel's eugenic foundation, he resigned from this position on 20 April 1944.


Le Corbusier tried, without success, to obtain commissions for several of the first large reconstruction projects, but his proposals for the reconstruction of the town of Saint-Die and for La Rochelle were rejected.


Still, he persisted; Le Corbusier finally found a willing partner in Raoul Dautry, the new Minister of Reconstruction and Urbanism.


Le Corbusier gave the building the name of his pre-war theoretical project, the Cite Radieuse, and followed the principles that he had studied before the war, he proposed a giant reinforced concrete framework, into which modular apartments would fit like bottles into a bottle rack.


Le Corbusier designed furniture, carpets and lamps to go with the building, all purely functional; the only decoration was a choice of interior colours that Le Corbusier gave to residents.


The only mildly decorative features of the building were the ventilator shafts on the roof, which Le Corbusier made to look like the smokestacks of an ocean liner, a functional form that he admired.


Le Corbusier wrote later that the Unite d'Habitation concept was inspired by the visit he had made to the Florence Charterhouse at Galluzzo in Italy, in 1907 and 1910 during his early travels.


Le Corbusier wanted to recreate, he wrote, an ideal place "for meditation and contemplation".


Le Corbusier learned from the monastery, he wrote, that "standardization led to perfection", and that "all of his life a man labours under this impulse: to make the home the temple of the family".


Le Corbusier had progressed from being an outsider and critic of the architectural establishment to its centre, as the most prominent French architect.


Le Corbusier made another almost identical Unite d'Habitation in Reze-les-Nantes in the Loire-Atlantique Department between 1948 and 1952, and three more over the following years, in Berlin, Briey-en-Foret and Firminy; and he designed a factory for the company of Claude and Duval, in Saint-Die in the Vosges.


In early 1947 Le Corbusier submitted a design for the headquarters of the United Nations, which was to be built beside the East River in New York.


Le Corbusier had submitted his plan for the Secretariat, called Plan 23 of the 58 submitted.


Le Corbusier lobbied hard for his project, and asked the younger Brazilian architect, Niemeyer, to support and assist him with his plan.


Niemeyer, to help Le Corbusier, refused to submit his design and did not attend the meetings until the Director, Harrison, insisted.


Le Corbusier urged Niemeyer to put the General Assembly Hall in the centre of the site, though this would eliminate Niemeyer's plan to have a large plaza in the centre.


Le Corbusier was an avowed atheist, but he had a strong belief in the ability of architecture to create a sacred and spiritual environment.


Le Corbusier wrote later that he was greatly aided in his religious architecture by a Dominican father, Pere Couturier, who had founded a movement and review of modern religious art.


Le Corbusier first visited the remote mountain site of Ronchamp in May 1950, saw the ruins of the old chapel, and drew sketches of possible forms.


The second major religious project undertaken by Le Corbusier was the Convent of Sainte Marie de La Tourette in L'Arbresle in the Rhone Department.


Le Corbusier used raw concrete to construct the convent, which is placed on the side of a hill.


In 1960, Le Corbusier began a third religious building, the Church of Saint Pierre in the new town of Firminy-Vert, where he had built a Unite d'Habitation and a cultural and sports centre.


Le Corbusier originally proposed that tiny windows project the form of a constellation on the walls.


Le Corbusier was contacted in 1950 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and invited to propose a project.


Le Corbusier worked on the plan with two British specialists in urban design and tropical climate architecture, Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, and with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, who moved to India and supervised the construction until his death.


Le Corbusier intended to present what he had learned in forty years of urban study, and to show the French government the opportunities they had missed in not choosing him to rebuild French cities after the War.


Le Corbusier's design made use of many of his favourite ideas: an architectural promenade, incorporating the local landscape and the sunlight and shadows into the design; the use of the Modulor to give a correct human scale to each element; and his favourite symbol, the open hand.


Le Corbusier placed a monumental open hand statue in a prominent place in the design.


Le Corbusier's design called for the use of raw concrete, whose surface was not smoothed or polished and which showed the marks of the forms in which it dried.


Le Corbusier added touches of colour and texture with an immense tapestry in the meeting hall and a large gateway decorated with enamel.


Le Corbusier remained active in a wide variety of fields; in 1955 he published Poeme de l'angle droit, a portfolio of lithographs, published in the same collection as the book Jazz by Henri Matisse.


Le Corbusier received growing recognition for his pioneering work in modernist architecture; in 1959, a successful international campaign was launched to have his Villa Savoye, threatened with demolition, declared a historic monument; it was the first time that a work by a living architect received this distinction.


Le Corbusier built a similar cabin for himself, but the rest of the project was not realized until after his death.


Le Corbusier constructed three new Unites d'Habitation, apartment blocks on the model of the original in Marseille, the first in Berlin, the second in Briey-en-Foret in the Meurthe-et-Moselle Department; and the third in Firminy.


Le Corbusier designed a tapestry, Les Des Sont Jetes, which was completed in 1960.


Le Corbusier died of a heart attack at age 77 in 1965 after swimming at the French Riviera.


Now called the Centre Le Corbusier, it is one of his last finished works.


The US copyright representative for the Fondation Le Corbusier is the Artists Rights Society.


Le Corbusier defined the principles of his new architecture in Les cinq points de l'architecture moderne, published in 1927, and co-authored by his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret.


Le Corbusier hoped that politically minded industrialists in France would lead the way with their efficient Taylorist and Fordist strategies adopted from American industrial models to reorganize society.


Le Corbusier was heavily indebted to the thought of the 19th-century French utopians Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier.


From Fourier, Le Corbusier adopted at least in part his notion of administrative, rather than political, government.


The Modulor was a standard model of the human form which Le Corbusier devised to determine the correct amount of living space needed for residents in his buildings.


Le Corbusier explicitly used the golden ratio in his Modulor system for the scale of architectural proportion.


Le Corbusier saw this system as a continuation of the long tradition of Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", the work of Leon Battista Alberti, and others who used the proportions of the human body to improve the appearance and function of architecture.


Le Corbusier took Leonardo's suggestion of the golden ratio in human proportions to an extreme: he sectioned his model human body's height at the navel with the two sections in golden ratio, then subdivided those sections in golden ratio at the knees and throat; he used these golden ratio proportions in the Modulor system.


Le Corbusier was an eloquent critic of the finely crafted, hand-made furniture, made with rare and exotic woods, inlays and coverings, presented at the 1925 Exposition of Decorative Arts.


Le Corbusier described three different furniture types: type-needs, type-furniture, and human-limb objects.


Le Corbusier further declared: "Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois".


Le Corbusier first relied on ready-made furniture from Thonet to furnish his projects, such as his pavilion at the 1925 Exposition.


Le Corbusier admired the design of Marcel Breuer and the Bauhaus, who in 1925 had begun making sleek modern tubular club chairs.


Le Corbusier penned pieces in favour of Nazi antisemitism for those journals, as well as "hateful editorials".


Between 1925 and 1928, Le Corbusier had connections to Le Faisceau, a short-lived French fascist party led by Georges Valois.


Le Corbusier was accused of belittling the Muslim population of Algeria, then part of France.


Later criticism of Le Corbusier was directed at his ideas on urban planning.


For some critics, the urbanism of Le Corbusier was the model for a fascist state.


Le Corbusier personally took this as a challenge to accommodate the masses on an unprecedented scale.


Le Corbusier was concerned about problems he saw in industrial cities at the turn of the 20th century.


Le Corbusier thought that industrial housing techniques led to crowding, dirtiness, and a lack of a moral landscape.


Le Corbusier was a leader of the modernist movement to create better-living conditions and a better society through housing.


Le Corbusier revolutionized urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congres International d'Architecture Moderne.


One of the first to realize how the automobile would change human society, Le Corbusier conceived the city of the future with large apartment buildings isolated in a park-like setting on pilotis.


Le Corbusier's plans were adopted by builders of public housing in Europe and the United States.


Le Corbusier criticized any effort at ornamentation of the buildings.


Le Corbusier's thinking had profound effects on city planning and architecture in the Soviet Union during the Constructivist era.


Le Corbusier gave credibility to the automobile as a transporter and freeway in urban spaces.


Le Corbusier's philosophies were useful to urban real estate developers in the American post-World War II period because they justified and lent intellectual support to the desire to raze traditional urban spaces for high density, high-profit urban concentration.


The Fondation Le Corbusier is a private foundation and archive honoring the work of Le Corbusier.


In 2016, seventeen of Le Corbusier's buildings spanning seven countries were identified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, reflecting "outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement".


Le Corbusier's portrait was featured on the 10 Swiss francs banknote, pictured with his distinctive eyeglasses.