He wrote more than 30 books on art and architecture, paited and drew, and devoted himself to poetry and furniture making. But it was thanks to his buildings that he became famous: the Swiss-born architect made his name in three continents during the six decades of his active career, mainly with buildings in concrete.
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, son of a pianist and a mountaineer, began his career as an architect early in life. In his early 20s he worked in the office of the architect Auguste Perret in Paris, and two years later he was active as a draughtsman in the studio od Peter Behrens. In 1914 the young architect and urban planner entered the field of the serial production of houses, developing over the decades a rationalized method of building that he employed in the design of his new home in Paris.
From 1920, Jeanneret started calling himself Le Corbusier. He made a start with the “Domino” system, based on a standardized framework or reinforced concrete, to which the client in question could add walls, windows or doors from an architectural catalogue. In line with Citroen’s mechanized car production, the Swiss architect then worked on the “Citrohan” house. He made no secret of his enthusiasm for new technologies and media.
Machines for Living…
But his ideas on the city of the future did not meet with unalloyed approval. Le Corbusier’s rejection of traditional city planning also found its impassioned critics—a glance at his “machine for living” in Marseille will show why. From 1945, in the south of the French Mediterranean city, he created the Unité de l’Habitation, a high-rise complex that consists not only of apartments but also shops and offices Almost the whole urban infrastructure is present’ there, for it was intended that its residents need never leave their self-contained concrete “village” And it was not only his urban planning designs demonstrate Le Corbusier’s enthusiasm for concrete as a building material.
…and “Concrete Piles”
It was as a “concrete pile” that his project on a high plateau above the village of Ronchamp became known. In 1950, in this hilly district some 20 kilometers from Belfort, the architect began to build a pilgrimage chapel, which was to replace the previous, destroyed structure. Notre-Dame-du-Haut was to offer space for about 200 believers, but also be able to receive the swarms of pilgrims who streamed to this site twice a year. To them, Le Corbusier offered space with an exterior choir in front of the east wall, sheltered by the widely projecting brown roof. The problem of space was thus solved in the best possible way.
So is everything else right angles and straight sides, arranged in neat symmetrical order? Not quite, or at any rate not only: a window-less tower and an arched white wall, on which rests a bulging, heavy roof, determine our first impression of the chapel. Only on the north wall do right angles dominate, while the west wall is rounded off. Various large openings are distributed as though at random over the facade that frames the main entrance. Partly covered with plaster, partly exposing the concrete beneath, this design by Le Corbusier also inspired critics to invent various nicknames, but the “sacred garage” nevertheless ended up as a milestone of modern architecture.
Major works of Le Corbusier
– 1905: Villa Fallet, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
– 1908: Stotzer House, 6, Chemin de Pouillerel, la Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
– 1912: Villa Jeanneret-Perret, La Chaux-de-Fonds
– 1916: Villa Schwob, La Chaux-de-Fonds
– 1922: Villa Besnus (Ker-Ka-Ré), Vaucresson, Paris, France
– 1922: Ozenfant House and Studio, Vaucresson, Paris. ( much altered.)
– 1923: Villa La Roche/Villa Jeanneret, Paris
– 1924: Pavillon de L’Esprit Nouveau, Paris (destroyed)
– 1924: Quartiers Modernes Frugès, Pessac, France
– 1925: Villa Jeanneret, Paris
– 1926: Villa Cook, Boulogne-sur-Seine, France
– 1926: Villa Ternisien, 5, Allee des Pins, Boulogne-sur-Seine, Paris. ( Block of apartments built over the house.)
– 1927: Villa Stein, Garches, Paris.
– 1927: Pleinex House, 24, Bis Boulevard Massena, Paris 13e.
– 1927: Villas at Weissenhof Estate, Stuttgart, Germany
– 1928: Villa Savoye, Poissy-sur-Seine, France View on the map
– 1929: Cité du Refuge, Armée du Salut, Paris, France
– 1930: Pavillon Suisse, Cité Universitaire, Paris
– 1930: Maison Errazuriz, Chile
– 1930: Las Nubes, house of Uruguayan novelist Enrique Amorim (Salto, Uruguay)
– 1931: Palace of the Soviets, Moscow, USSR (project)
– 1931: Immeuble Clarté (fr), Geneva, Switzerland View on the map
– 1933: Tsentrosoyuz, Moscow, USSR
– 1936: Palace of Ministry of National Education and Public Health, Rio de Janeiro (as a consultant to Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer and others)
– 1938: The “Cartesian” sky-scraper (project)
– 1945: Usine Claude et Duval, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France
– 1947–1952: Unité d’Habitation, Marseille, France View on the map
– 1948: Curutchet House, La Plata, Argentina
– 1949–1952: United Nations headquarters, New York City (Consultant)
– 1950–1954: Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France View on the map
– 1951: Cabanon de vacances, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
– 1951: Maisons Jaoul, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
– 1951: Mill Owners’ Association Building, villa Sarabhai and villa Schodan, Ahmedabad, India
– 1952: Unité d’Habitation of Nantes-Rezé, Nantes, France View on the map
– 1952–1959: Buildings in Chandigarh, India
– 1952: Palace of Justice (Chandigarh)
– 1952: Museum and Gallery of Art (Chandigarh)
– 1953: Secretariat Building (Chandigarh)
– 1953: Governor’s Palace (Chandigarh)
– 1955: Palace of Assembly (Chandigarh)
– 1956: Shodan House
– 1959: Government College of Art (GCA) and the Chandigarh College of Architecture(CCA) (Chandigarh)
– 1956: Museum at Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad, India
– 1956: Saddam Hussein Gymnasium, Baghdad, Iraq
– 1957: Unité d’Habitation of Briey en Forêt, France
– 1957: National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
– 1957: Maison du Brésil, Cité Universitaire, Paris
– 1957–1960: Sainte Marie de La Tourette, near Lyon, France (with Iannis Xenakis)
– 1957: Unité d’Habitation of Berlin-Charlottenburg, Flatowallee 16, Berlin View on the map
– 1957: Unité d’Habitation of Meaux, France
– 1958: Philips Pavilion, Brussels, Belgium (with Iannis Xenakis) (destroyed) at the 1958 World Expositon
– 1961: Center for Electronic Calculus, Olivetti, Milan, Italy
– 1961: Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
– 1963: House of Man, Zurich, Switzerland
– 1964–1969: Firminy-Vert
– 1964: Unité d’Habitation of Firminy, France
– 1966: Stadium Firminy-Vert
– 1965: Maison de la culture de Firminy-Vert
– 1969: Church of Saint-Pierre, Firminy, France (built posthumously and completed under José Oubrerie’s guidance in 2006)
– 1967: Heidi Weber Museum (Centre Le Corbusier), Zurich, Switzerland