Notre Dame du Haut, built in Ronchamp, France, in 1955. Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel
A century since Le Corbusier began his journey as an architect, he remains one of the profession’s most influential and controversial figures. Here, Joe Lloyd explores how he got thereNo modern architect is as simultaneously…
Modern architecture would come to dominant architectural design after the destruction of WW2. It would later, largely, give way to postmodernism in the 1980’s.
Modernism or Modern Architecture is an architectural style that emerged in the early years of the 20th Century. Modernism would become the dominant architectural form in the aftermath and devastation of the Second World War across Europe.
It is characterized by its heavy use of new technologies with particular emphasis on the use of glass, steel and, of course, reinforced concrete. Many also define it as being the rejection of the old traditional neoclassical style and Beaux-Arts that were popularised during the previous century.
Modern Architecture would remain the dominant architectural form throughout most the 20th Century until it was deposed in the 1980’s by, the appropriately termed, postmodernist style.
Famous Modernist Architects
There have been many prominent Modernist architects throughout the years but the most notable include:-
Masterpiece or monstrosity? From Le Corbusier’s big housing project through to crumbling castles. Get to know this divisive design style.
What is Brutalist Architecture?
You may have heard of the term Brutalist architecture and thought, that sounds a bit harsh.. But the rough and aggressive name is the perfect moniker for this love-it-or-hate-it style of architecture. The word ‘brutal’ comes from the French béton brut, referring to the ‘raw cement’ used in many of these buildings. In Brutalist architecture this rawness refers to the stripped back and glaringly conspicuous concrete that composes the designs. Arguably the most controversial design movement of the 20th century, here is everything you wanted to know about Brutalist architecture.
Where and When
World War Two put an end to the frivolity of previous decades’ design styles. With determination and optimism, areas destroyed by enemy bombs were rebuilt across Europe. The post-war population boom exaggerated the need for housing around the world. To meet demand for affordable homes, architects moved to concrete as an inexpensive material that allowed for quick construction.
His concrete monoliths still divide opinion today, yet Le Corbusier is undoubtedly the most influential architect of the 20th century. Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey investigates.
Father of modern architecture, Le Corbusier was a true trailblazer. He was a contemporary and friend of Picasso and Dalí, who met Einstein and became infatuated with Josephine Baker. A man who travelled the globe, crossed the Atlantic in the Graf Zeppelin, and flew across South America with Saint-Exupéry. A man who once skinned his dead pet dog and then covered one of his books in its fur. A prolific painter and sculptor, an author of 34 books, a polemicist, a public speaker and lecturer. An architect who was called upon to design an entire city from scratch. A divisive urban planner who dreamed of razing central Paris to the ground to make space for concrete skyscrapers.
Le Corbusier’s work is now studied and debated by scholars and architects the world over.
A statement from the organization underscores the importance of UNESCO’s preservation efforts.
Last week, the State Department announced that the U.S. will withdraw from UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which, among other activities, designates World Heritage Sites of architectural and cultural significance.
The Trump administration’s stated reasons for leaving the organization include UNESCO’s “anti-Israel bias” and past-due debts of more than $500 million. The U.S. would, however, remain as a non-member observer still contributing “views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization.”
This week, the professional organization American Institute of Architects (AIA), has a response.
AIA President Thomas Vonier calls for continued support of architecture and preservation efforts.
As news broke last week of the Trump administration’s plan for a U.S. departure from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), many were left fearful about potential ramifications on the group’s efforts domestically and abroad. For architecture and preservation, this was particularly poignant with regards to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which legally protects sites—natural and man-made—bearing cultural, scientific, or historic significance (including many architectural gems). On Tuesday, one such voice, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), issued a statement in support of UNESCO’s work and underlining the importance of cultural preservation.
World Heritage Corb: next up in our series on the 17 buildings by Le Corbusier that have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List is the architect’s Notre Dame du Haut, the small chapel in Ronchamp, France, that has become one of his most iconic designs.
Completed in 1954, the Ronchamp chapel was built for a Catholic church on a pre-existing pilgrimage site. The previous stone building had been largely destroyed during the second world war.
It is considered one of the most important buildings of the 20th century, and represents a key shift away from the sparse, functionalist form of Modernism that Le Corbusier displayed in his earlier projects.
The main structure consists of thick masonry walls, which are curved to improve stability and provide structural support.
Love it or hate it, brutalist architecture has made a splash in the urban landscape of many of the world’s largest cities.
The Brutalism architectural movement was a popular design which incorporated the use of concrete to create a unique staircase-style façade. The architectural style originated in European communist countries and was famous around the world in the 1960s and 1970s. Buildings constructed using brutalist architecture had many critics with some including Prince Charles, terming the buildings as “piles of concrete” while others embraced the designs admiring their unique aesthetic appeal.
10. National Theatre – London, UK
The National Theatre in London is also known as the Royal National Theatre. The theater was constructed in the 1970s and was opened in 1976.
Artcurial auctioneers left surprised as sale of 100 light sconces from Firminy World Heritage site is halted.
More than 100 light sconces designed by the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris) were withdrawn from a sale at the Paris-based auction house Artcurial last week (30 May), an hour before they were due to go under the hammer.
The sconces came from the Unité d’habitation de Firminy (housing unit) in the Loire valley, the second largest site designed by Le Corbusier after the Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh, India. Last year, the Firminy complex was designated by Unesco as a World Heritage site.
The items were consigned by the Firminy housing public office, the organisation that runs the block of 1,000 inhabitants.
The fixtures were salvaged from the architect’s public housing unit in Firminy, France.
Any architecture buff has marveled at the works of Le Corbusier, a master in functional structure and urban planning who came to define architectural modernism. Now, more than 25 buyers have a rare chance to own a piece of his direct design legacy. Paris-based auction house Artcurial is putting over one hundred metal sconces designed by the architect on the block today, all of which were previously housed in one of his historic public housing complexes. The lights were salvaged in 2004 from the building in Firminy, France, when it underwent major renovations.
A former mining town in the Loire Valley, Firminy underwent a substantial population boom after World War II.
Both are masterful gems from famed architect Le Corbusier, real name Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris.
First One. The Maison La Roche.
This is a newly (2016) classified site in Paris. Among 19th century facades of the chic 16th arrondissement of the capital city, the Maison La Roche is a striking example of modern architecture by Le Corbusier. The building is now the headquarters of Le Corbusier Foundation.
Built between 1923 and 1925 by Swiss architect Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret for a wealthy art collector, it stands as one of several experimental houses designed by Le Corbusier in the Paris vicinity.
Did you know that in Paris it’s possible to visit a Le Corbusier building, newly classified in 2016 as a UNESCO World Heritage site?
Tucked away among the golden 19th century facades of the tony 16th arrondissement, the Maison La Roche is a striking example of modern architecture by none other than famed architect Le Corbusier. A quiet alleyway, verdant with vegetation, leads back to the building, which is now the headquarters of Le Corbusier Foundation. Maison La Roche was built between 1923-1925 by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret for a wealthy art collector friend, and today stands as one of the iconic experimental houses designed by Le Corbusier in the Paris vicinity.
A visit to this extraordinary maison is a must for culture vultures and architecture buffs.
The term “Brutalist architecture” is often credited to the architecture critic Reyner Banham, who said: “what characterizes the New Brutalism… is precisely its brutality, its je-m’en-foutisme, its bloody-mindedness.” The concrete monsters produced by the British New Brutalism movement are beloved by many and also hated in equal numbers – and the chasm between both groups is wide and filled with controversy.
However, the origins of the movement never found their footing in a penchant for the brutal. The name, in fact, derives from the French words béton brut, meaning raw concrete. In the wake of World War II, and with the birth of the welfare state, many architects sought to rebuild their respective countries with a “humanist” Modernism aimed at enacting social change.