ARCHITECTURE IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY - Cankaya.edu.tr

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22.12.2011ARCHITECTUREIN THE FIRST HALF OF THETWENTIETH CENTURYLe CorbusierInternational Style in Italy: RationalismWeek 13LE CORBUSIER’S QUEST FOR IDEAL FORM The 1920s in Europe, Russia and, to some degree, the United States was one of those rare periods in the history ofarchitecture when new forms were created which seemed to overthrow previous styles, and set a new common basis forindividual intervention. Sometimes called the ‘International Style’, this shared language of expression was more than a merestyle; it was also more than a revolution in building technique, though its characteristic effects ofinterlocking (birbirine bağlı) spaces, hovering (havada asılı) volumes and interpenetrating (içiçe geçmiş)planes admittedly relied on the machine-age materials of concrete, steel, and glass. Like most major shifts in the history of forms, the new architecture gave body to new ideas and visions of theworld. It expressed polemical attitudes and Utopian sentiments ; and whatever qualities individual buildings may haveshared, they were still the products of artists with personal styles and private preoccupations. It is only by probing into the ideals and fantasies behind the forms that one may begin to understand their meaning. This applies particularly to Le Corbusier, whose vast imaginative world included a vision of the ideal city, aphilosophy of nature, and a strong feeling for tradition. He was one of those rare individuals who succeedin investigating their creations with a universal tone.1

22.12.2011Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret )(1887-1965) Swiss architect, urban planner, painter, writer, designerand theorist, active mostly in France. In the range of his work and in his ability to enrage the establishment and surprise hisfollowers, he was matched in the field of modern architecture perhaps only by Frank Lloyd Wright. He adopted the pseudonym LeCorbusier for his architectural work c. 1920 and for his paintings c. 1930. His visionary books, startling white houses andterrifying urban plans set him at the head of the Modern Movement in the 1920s, while in the 1930s he became more of acomplex and sceptical explorer of cultural and architectural possibilities. After World War II he frequently shifted position,serving as ‘Old Master’ of the establishment of Modern architecture and as unpredictable and charismatic leader for theyoung. Most of his great ambitions (urban and housing projects) were never fulfilled. However, the power of his designs tostimulate thought is the hallmark of his career. Before he died, he established the Fondation Le Corbusier in Paris to look afterand make available to scholars his library, architectural drawings, sketches and paintings.Corbusier painted throughout his life, usually in the morning. He claimed towards the end of his life that this work, private and largelyunrecognized, provided his architecture with its main moral and formal support. His early paintings and watercolors, made at LaChaux de Fonds, were influenced by Symbolism and Animism, but when he came under Ozenfant’s influence, his approach tonatural form changed dramatically. A major criticism of Cubism in Après le Cubisme and in the articles in L’Esprit nouveau, mostof which were later grouped together in La Peinture moderne (1925), was that it lacked a serious attitude to iconography andwas far too decorative. For the Purists, the task was to rediscover the laws of geometric order in nature, using ‘rules’ suchas the golden section and reference to the so-called Phileban solids. They were aided in this by selecting as their subjectsartefacts that themselves had these properties, typically the results of industrial production. An elaborate procedure for drawing andredrawing the appropriate glasses, carafes, plates and pipes was designed to discover the formal relationships. Paintings such asVertical Guitar (1920) or Still-life with a Pile of Plates (1920) show this approach very clearly. Color was used according to strictrules: solid, somber earth colors to express volume and more dynamic hues for emphasis.Still LifeLe Corbusier (French, born Switzerland. 1887-1965)1920. Oil on canvas, 31 7/8 x 39 1/4" (80.9 x 99.7 cm).2

22.12.2011The Villa La Roche (1923–5), Paris,was commissioned by the Swissbanker Raoul La Roche foraccommodating the splendid collectionof Cubist and Purist paintings that LeCorbusier and Ozenfant had helpedhim to assemble. The house marks aradical departure in that it was morepicturesque and spatially elaboratethan its predecessors. Many of themost extraordinary features of the plan(e.g. an ‘empty’ hallway rising threestoreys through the house, and a rampin the gallery, which is in turnsupported above an empty space byan exposed piloti) resulted directlyfrom forced alterations. In the finalstages of the design, forms andfunctions were literally moved around,and all the living functions of the housewere placed in a vertical column atone end, in order to allow maximumfreedom for a stunning ‘promenadearchitecturale’ (as Le Corbusiercalled it) through a display ofCorbusian volumes and spaces. Thehouse has been acclaimed as his firstfully developed masterpiece.3

22.12.2011The program included a salon, dining room, bedrooms, a study, a kitchen, a maid's room and a garage. The site faced north, and zoning restrictionsprevented windows looking over the surrounding back gardens. It was therefore necessary to get light in by creating light courts, a terrace, andskylights. In promenade of the house, the spaces experientially expand. At the roof is a roof terrace, similar to the deck of a ship.4

22.12.2011Les 5 Points d' unearchitecture nouvelle (fivepoints of a new architecture),which Le Corbusier finallyformulated in 1926 included:above: Four Studies of the potentials ofthe 'Five Points', 1929.(a) Maison La Roche-Jeanneret,(b) Villa Stein,(c) Villa at Carthage,(d) Villa Savoye(1) the pilotis elevating themass off the ground,(2) the roof garden,restoring, supposedly, thearea of ground covered bythe house(3) the free plan, achievedthrough the separation of theload-bearing columns fromthe walls subdividing thespace,(4) the free facade, thecorollary (sonuç) of the freeplan in the vertical plane,and finally,(5) the long horizontalsliding window.5

22.12.2011The classic domestic design of this period was the Villa Savoye (1929–31), built on an open grassy siteoverlooking the village of Poissy, near Versailles. The Olympian abstraction of the first design (October, 1928) isbreathtaking: the ground-floor plan was determined by the turning circle of a motor car, and the transportanalogy continued in the ramp, which rose through three storeys to the roof. The horizontal white box ofthe piano nobile floated above the ground on its pilotis and was crowned by a second-floor main bedroomsuite, which appeared as a series of sculptural, curving screens. This design presented difficulties of size andcost, necessitating the removal of the rooms on the top floor.The Villa Savoye has the pristine (exteremlyclean) clarity and shocking simplicity to serveas a Modernist icon. It has often beenmisinterpreted as the ultimate expression offunctionalism. In reality it is one of the mosthighly idealized and aestheticized conceptionsof Le Corbusier’s career.6

22.12.2011The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art,revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 152The Villa Savoye was designed as a weekend house outsideParis. Le Corbusier, along with his cousin Pierre, planned theentire composition as a sequence of spatial effects.Arriving by automobile, the visitor drives underneath thehouse, circling around to the main entrance. From theentrance hall, he or she ascends the spiral stairs or theramp to the main-level living area. The ramp continues fromthe central terrace to the upper-level sun deck. Sheltered bybrightly colored wind screens, it is a perfect vantage point forsavoring sunlight, fresh air, and nature.In his famous book of 1923, Vers une architecture(Towards a New Architecture), arguably the most influentialarchitecture book of the twentieth century, Le Corbusierdeclared houses to be "machines for living in." VillaSavoye, a white rectilinear volume on a flat landscape,celebrates Le Corbusier's belief that ideal, universal forms,although rooted in the classical tradition, were appropriate toarchitecture for the machine age. The design incorporatesLe Corbusier's "five points of architecture," which hebelieved to be indispensable elements: pilotis (reinforcedconcrete columns), the free plan, the free facade,horizontal bands of windows, and the roof garden.This model was included in The Museum of Modern Art's firstarchitecture exhibition, in 1932, which documented thevarious trends that came to be known as theInternational Style.7

22.12.2011The design features of the Villa Savoye include: modulor design -- the result of Le Corbusier's researches into mathematics,architecture (the golden section), and human proportion "pilotis" -- the house is raised on stilts to separate it from the earth, and to use theland efficiently. These also suggest a modernized classicism. no historical ornament abstract sculptural design pure color -- white on the outside, a color with associations of newness, purity,simplicity, and health (LeCorbusier earlier wrote a book entitled, When theCathedrals were White), and planes of subtle color in the interior living areas a very open interior plan dynamic , non-traditional transitions between floors -- spiral staircases andramps built-in furniture ribbon (şerit) windows (echoing industrial architecture, but also providing opennessand light) roof garden, with both plantings and architectural (sculptural) shapes integral garage (the curve of the ground floor of the house is based on the turningradius of the 1927 Citroen)8

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22.12.2011Le Corbusier, Oeuvre Plastique 1919-1937Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret )(French, born Switzerland. 1887-1965)Printer: J. C. Muller. 1937. Lithograph, (100 x 70.3 cm).10

22.12.2011Le Corbusier, Cite Radieuse, MarseilleThe Unité d'Habitation (French, literally, "HousingUnity" or "Housing Unit" since Unité has bothmeanings in French) is the name of a modernistresidential housing design principle developed by LeCorbusier, with the collaboration of painter-architectNadir Afonso. The concept formed the basis ofseveral housing developments designed by himthroughout Europe with this name. In the block'splanning, the architect heavily drew on his studyof the Soviet Communal housing project, theNarkomfin Building.Narkomfin Building, 1928, Moscow"Le Corbusier's most influentiallate work was his first significantpostwar structure— the Unitéd'Habitation in Marseilles of1947-52. The giant, twelve-storyapartment block for 1.600 peopleis the late modern counterpart ofthe mass housing schemes ofthe 1920s, similarly built toalleviate a severe postwarhousing shortage. Although theprogram of the building iselaborate, structurally it issimple: a rectilinear ferroconcretegrid, into which are slotted precastindividual apartment units, like'bottles into a wine rack' as thearchitect put it. Through ingeniousplanning, twenty-three differentapartment configurations wereprovided to accommodate singlepersons and families as largeas ten, nearly all with doubleheight living rooms and thedeep balconies that form themajor external feature."— Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman.Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism.p541.View from the roadPhoto private collection56 metres high, 137 metres long and 24 metres deep, this“vertical housing city” provides room for 337 apartments.Each apartment has a loggia and a two storey section with agallery, and extends the full depth of the building. The roomheights are 226 cm and 480 cm. These —in cross L-shaped —units slot over each other in such a way that space for theaccess coridor is left in the center. The shopping andcommunication centers on the seventh and eighth floors areidentified by a change in the facade structure. The entirebuilding surface is bare concrete; only the balcony andwindow niches are painted a clear red, blue, yellow andgreen.11

22.12.2011Views from the outside.The pilotis.The roof terrace.The fire stairs.Unique and poetic utilization of reinforced concrete.Brutalist sensibility.The Marseille unitéd'habitation brings togetherLe Corbusier's vision forcommunal living with theneeds and realities of postwar France. Up to 1600people live in a single-slab'vertical village', completewith an internal shoppingstreet halfway up, arecreation ground andchildren's' nursery on theroof, and a generoussurrounding area of parkland made possible by thedensity of theaccommodation in the slabitself.12

22.12.2011Apartment 2corridorApartment 1Schematic section of Unitéd’habitationView from the corridorThe Unité introduced the world to raw concrete béton brut - with its texture defined by the woodenplanks shaping it when it was poured. This unwittingprototype for the New Brutalism to follow camefrom necessity: not only was there insufficient steelin post-war France for a steel construction, butthere was insufficient skilled labor for consistent,precise construction. Le Corbusier made a virtue ofthis necessity:'.I have decided to make beauty by contrast. Iwill find its complement and establish a playbetween crudity and finesse, between the dulland the intense, between precision and accident.I will make people think and reflect, this is thereason for the violent, clamorous, triumphantpolychromy of the facades.'13

22.12.2011The plan is no longer completely free: the partition walls betweenthe apartments are load-bearing, freeing the facades, and providingstrong sound-proofing between apartments - part of the building'ssuccess in combining privacy with communal living. But betweenthese walls, the free plan has taken on a new dimension, tobecome a 'free volume'. In an ingenious use of space, two-storyapartments interlock, so that an entrance corridor and elevator stopare required only at every third level.On one side of the corridoryou may enter an apartment'slower level, taking up one sideof the building, and climb thestairs within the apartment toa double-aspect floor ofbedrooms above; on the otherside of the corridor you mayenter the neighboringapartment's upper level, anddescend to the double-aspectfloor below. As a result,apartments typically combinebright, double-height sittingrooms on one level, with long,narrow bedrooms on theother.Photos from interior14

22.12.2011Most of Le Corbusier's 'five points of architecture' from the 1920s andthe Villa Savoye are alive and well in the Unité: the strong pilotiscreating circulation space beneath, the free facades now loud with acarefully orchestrated pattern of single- and double-height balconiesgenerated from fifteen different types of apartment, and the roof terracereclaiming the lost land beneath the building for recreation.The apartment blocks two ventilation shafts end in powerful and sculpturelly mouldedsuper structures which dominate the varied roof scape. To the rear on the left is the childdaycare centre with swimming pool, on the right the running track and , in the foreground,the steps eading up to the bar and sun terrace.The amazing roof terrace.Photos by Pınar and Ezra Ash15

22.12.2011The amazing roof terrace.Photos by Pınar and Ezra AshPhotos from the indoors, the restaurant, the corridors, etc.From the public floors.16

22.12.2011Photos from the indoors, the shopping street,the corridors, etc.From the public floors.The Modulor: Le Corbusier explicitly used the golden ratio in his Modulor system for the scale of architectural proportion. Hesaw this system as a continuation of the long tradition of Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", the work of Leon BattistaAlberti, and others who used the proportions of the human body to improve the appearance and function of architecture. Inaddition to the golden ratio, Le Corbusier based the system on human measurements, Fibonacci numbers, and the double unit.He took Leonardo's suggestion of the golden ratio in human proportions to an extreme: he sectioned his model human body's height atthe navel with the two sections in golden ratio, then subdivided those sections in golden ratio at the knees and throat; he used thesegolden ratio proportions in the Modulor system.Le Corbusier placed systems of harmony and proportion at the centre of his design philosophy, and his faith in the mathematicalorder of the universe was closely bound to the golden section, which he described as "rhythms apparent to the eye and clear intheir relations with one another. And these rhythms are at the very root of human activities. They resound in Man by an organicinevitability, the same fine inevitability which causes the tracing out of the Golden Section by children, old men, savages, and thelearned."17

22.12.2011Informally known as "Ronchamp", the chapel of Notre Dame duHaut in Ronchamp (French: Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut deRonchamp), completed in 1954, is one of the finest examples ofthe architecture of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier and one ofthe most important examples of twentieth-century religiousarchitecture.The chapel at Ronchamp is singular in Corbusier'soeuvre, in that it departs from his principles ofstandardization and the machine aesthetic, giving ininstead to a site-specific response. By Le Corbusier's ownadmission, it was the site that provided an irresistible geniusloci for the response, with the horizon visible on all four sidesof the hill and its historical legacy for centuries as a place ofworship.18

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22.12.2011Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret ) (French, born Switzerland. 1887-1965),Pierre Jeanneret (Swiss, 1896-1967) and Charlotte Perriand (French, 1903-1999)Armchair with Adjustable Back (Basculant Chair) 1928.Chrome-plated tubular steel and canvas, (66.3 x 65.1 x 66 cm).Chaise Longue (LC/4) 1928. Chrome-platedsteel, fabric, and leather, (67 x 58.4 x 158.4 cm).Grand Confort, Petit Modèle Armchair 1928.Chrome-plated tubular steel, horsehair, down, and leather,Overall: (66 x 76.2 x 70.5 cm); seat h.(40.6).21

Le Corbusier, Cite Radieuse, Marseille "Le Corbusier's most influential late work was his first significant postwar structure—the Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles of 1947-52. The giant, twelve-story apartment block for 1.600 people is the late modern counterpart of the mass housing schemes of the 1920s, similarly built to

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