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  • Writer's pictureOlivier Blanc

Le Corbusier, article. An introduction to his work and forever influence.

Updated: Apr 17

By Olivier Blanc


Le Corbusier (1887-1965), considered one of the foremost architects of the 20th Century, has inspired designers and architects worldwide. His ideas have been instrumental in shaping modern architecture. To that date, he is still an influential figure of the architecture world.

 Creative modern style illustration representing Le Corbusier by Olivier Blanc

© Illustration by Olivier Blanc


According to Le Corbusier, architecture ought to fit the habits and lifestyles of its occupants, a notion widely reflected in his designs. Working innovatively, his approach to architecture was different and original. His designs were revolutionary due to their simplicity and functionality.


The principles of 'this new architecture', which he refers to as 'the machine for living', were characterised by elegant and minimalistic shapes and an efficient use of space and light. He believed this new architectural style was necessary to meet the demands of an emerging modern society and to create a better and more adapted world.


Le Corbusier gave particular importance to incorporating natural light into his designs, achieved with large windows and the intelligent composition of open spaces. In his view, natural light was essential to creating a healthy and vibrant living space to connect individuals to the natural world. The Villa Savoye reflects this very well.


Located in Poissy, France, Villa Savoye is one of his most famous works. Completed in 1931, this house on pilotis is considered a masterpiece of modernism. Its features incorporate a simple and rectangular shape with a flat roof, horizontal bands of windows, and an open floor plan that makes the best use of natural light and views of the surrounding landscape.

The Villa Savoye design exemplifies Le Corbusier's belief in the importance of function and simplicity in architecture and nicely underlines the 5 points of a new architecture.

Sketch drawing of the chaise longue designed by Le Corbusier, Perriand and Jeanneret

© Illustration by Olivier Blanc


By using raw materials such as concrete and steel whilst focusing on the living space aspect and its feel from a perception point of view, he made his work ground-breaking for its time to the extent that his modernist approach and ideas today continue to influence the contemporary practice of architecture.


In addition to his architectural work, Le Corbusier was also a prolific writer and theorist and authored numerous books and articles on architecture, design, and urban planning, including his seminal work published in 1923: Towards a New Architecture.

This writing explored how architecture can adapt to meet and serve the needs of a rapidly evolving world and drew attention to the requirement for affordable, more functional housing; living spaces had to respond to the needs of their occupants.

Le Corbusier's ideas have not been unnoticed. His notions have informed urban planning and architectural theory for decades, to the point it is not rare to observe that many contemporary buildings constructed worldwide bear and embody his ideas.


Although a practitioner of spatial design, Le Corbusier's influence extends beyond architecture as he was also a sculptor, painter, and furniture designer. Over time he has collaborated with a number of designers like Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret. Several of his products, the LC2 sofa and the LC4 chaise longue, are considered design icons and are still in production today.


It is fair to say that Le Corbusier's legacy is important, significant and influential, as much for his innovative designs as for his theoretical contributions to the field of Architecture and Design.

His ideas continue to influence contemporary architects and designers as his work remains an important reference point for modernist architecture to the extent that understanding his work and notions is essential for anyone interested in the history and future of architecture and design.


References:

Curtis, W. J. R. (1986). Le Corbusier: ideas and forms. Phaidon Press.

Jencks, C. (1987). Le Corbusier and the Tragic View of Architecture. Penguin Books Ltd.

Le Corbusier. (1931). Towards a New Architecture. Dover Publications.



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