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Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier, whose real name was Charles Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, was a widely respected Swiss-French architect, theorist, painter, draughtsman and sculptor. He was born on 6 October 1887 in the Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds and died on 27 August 1965 in a French village near Nice. 

He was regarded as the pioneer of modern architecture, who knew how to harmonise function and artistic expression in his buildings. 

Throughout his life, Le Corbusier dealt with all building tasks, from urban planning to detached houses, public buildings and sacred buildings. As an urban planner he worked worldwide; in his 1925 Manifesto “Urban Planning” he emphasised that the architect's task was to create an order "that was in harmony with the world order". According to Le Corbusier, the architect's particular challenge is to satisfy the psychological and social demands of the individual.

Fact sheet

  • Name: Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris
  • Alias: Le Corbusier
  • Date of birth: 06.10.1887
  • Date of death 27.08.1965

Biography of Le Corbusier

Already at the age of thirteen, Le Corbusier became a pupil of the École d'Art in his Swiss hometown La Chaux-de-Fonds, where he initially trained as an engraver, chaser, goldsmith and painter. Immediately afterwards, he began his studies in architecture. As early as 1905, he built the Fallet residential building. 

Of great importance for Corbusier's work were his extensive travels, first through Europe, where he worked for two years in Berlin with Peter Behrens, co-founder of the Deutscher Werkbund, and deepened his contacts with the development of European architecture. This was followed by study trips to the Balkans, Turkey, Greece and Italy. 

In 1917 Le Corbusier finally moved to the French capital. There he initially worked as a painter and sculptor. He published his artistic ideas in his magazine “L'esprit nouveau”, which he published between 1920 and 1928.

“Domino”, the new design language of reinforced concrete 

Le Corbusier developed the “Domino” reinforced concrete skeleton system, a prototype for the mass production of residential buildings. The Villa Anatole Schwob, also called Villa Turque, which he built in his hometown, is a result of this new type of construction. Few supports make load-bearing walls superfluous in this system, which made it possible to design a floor plan that had not been possible before. 

The architect lifted the first floor from the ground. Continuous window bands made the exterior walls translucent and light. Corbusier took up this lightness parallel in almost all interiors. As a rule, he built the living space over two storeys; stairs and ramps were an important part of the villas he built. 

He regarded this type of construction as the ideal type, which he also established in more modest forms such as apartment buildings or workers' housing estates. The two buildings of the famous Weißenhof Estate in Stuttgart designed by Corbusier reflect this building type.

Corbusier's “Radiant City”

The architect is responsible for numerous urban development projects all over the world. He has been involved in urban development in Algiers, Antwerp, Bogota, Barcelona, Stockholm and Paris. His principle of the “Radiant city” foresaw residential areas with large housing units in the middle of parkland landscapes. Car and pedestrian traffic were separated; sports facilities and services provided a high recreational value for the residents. The architectural formal language of Corbusier's buildings is predominantly objective and prefers geometric basic forms.

Function and aesthetics of Le Corbusier 

The maxim of Corbusier's architecture remained throughout his life the unification of the design of functionalism, without having to give up the aspect of art and aesthetics. He developed a new order of measurement that corresponded to the human scale. 

Le Corbusier is regarded as one of the most influential avant-gardists of 20th-century modern architecture, whose revolutionary concepts still arouse admiration today across all building tasks.

Quotes of Le Corbusier

Die gesamte Geschichte der Architektur dreht sich ausschließlich um die Maueröffnungen.

Le Corbusier

Das Problem ist die Form, nicht ihr Ursprung.

Le Corbusier

Raum und Licht und Ordnung. Das sind die Dinge, die man genauso braucht wie Brot oder einen Platz zum Schlafen.

Le Corbusier

Ich zeichne lieber als zu reden. Zeichnen ist schneller und lässt weniger Raum für Lügen.

Le Corbusier

Alle Häuser sollten von Gesetzes wegen weiß sein.

Le Corbusier

Stühle sind Architektur, Sofas sind spießbürgerlich.

Le Corbusier

Licht schafft Atmosphäre und das Gefühl des Raums sowie den Ausdruck einer Struktur.

Le Corbusier

Der echte Maler ahmt das Abenteuer der Natur nach.

Le Corbusier

Das Haus ist eine Maschine zum Wohnen. Ein Sessel ist eine Maschine zum Sitzen.

Le Corbusier