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LE CORBUSIER

THE DEVELOPMENT OF PURISM


INTRODUCTION
OVERVIEW

ARCHITECT

INFLUENCE

After a brief introduction to Le Corbusier and the


Purist movement, this project will:
Explore his design philosophies
Analyze his organizing principles
Discuss his design language as seen in provided
works
Use provided examples to show the growth of
Le Corbusiers style through time
Present a precedent analysis of one of his masterworks: Villa Savoye (1931)

Born Charles-douard Jeanneret on October 6,


1887 in Switzerland
Studied art under Charles LEplattenier in La-Chauxde-Fonds, Switzerland
Travelled globe from 1907 to 1911
Returned to live in Paris at age 30 and collaborated
with designer Amde Ozenfant on Purist manifesto and avant-garde review, LEsprit Nouveau
Opened design studio with cousin Pierre Jeanneret
in 1922
Practiced 1914-1965

Le Corbusier helped create and develop the Purist


movement. Other achievements include:
One of the most important figures in the Modernist movement
Utilization of modern technologies such as
steel-reinforced concrete in most works
Philosophies and principles would be hugely influential in the International Style
Visions of utopia and social change through architecture
Pioneered urban planning and mass-produced
housing ideas

PHILOSOPHY

ORGANIZING PRINCIPLES

DESIGN LANGUAGE

Believed in efficiency, simplicity, and innovation of


mechanized design: A house is a machine for living
in

Steel frame support systems utilized grid organization and free wall placement

Industrialized architecture as the only way to avoid


social unrest: Architecture or Revolution

Modulor proportional system in later works (human proportions)

Mathematics and proportion were essential to Le


Corbusiers designs

Five Points of a New Architecture, listed by Moos


(1979) as the following:
1. pilotis
2. roof garden
3. free plan
4. elongated window
5. free faade

Le Corbusiers design language used the Five Points to


derive the following:
Rooftop gardens and terraces
Ribbon windows and skylights placed where
needed to maximize natural night
Unadorned, stark exteriors generally free of hierarchya result of the free faade
Exposed concrete utilized natural properties of
material rather than added decoration
Use of ramps: A staircase separates one floor
from another; a ramp connects Le Corbusier
(quoted in Baltanas 2005)

BACKGROUND

Proponent of rebuilding entire cities through urban


planning in order to advance society

Balanced asymmetry

PORTFOLIO
VILLA JEANNERET-PERRET

VILLA SCHWOB

VILLA BESNUS - KER-KA-R

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, FRANCE, 1912

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, FRANCE, 1916

VAUCRESSON, FRANCE, 1922

Still known at this point as his birth name, Jeanneret was given
the opportunity to design his parents new home. This work
is described as strikingly different from [his] earlier works,
as it is highly influenced by his travels during the four years
prior to its design (Baltanas 2005). One can see elements
in the villa which would resurface in his later works: long,
horizontal strips of glazing, a relative lack of ornamentation,
favoring of simple materials, and use of geometrical forms, to
name a few.

Designed for the Schwob family of watchmakers, this villa


marked Jeannerets first clean break with local tradition
(Baltanas 2005). It was nicknamed the Turkish Villa due
to its Byzantine influences and resemblance to a harem.
More so than in any of his previous works, Villa Schwob
featured organizing principles and a design language that
would evolve into his Purist style, including elements like
use of reinforced concrete, regulated geometrical systems,
and a flat roof.

The villa designed for M. and M. George Besnus is a large motion even closer to Le Corbusiers modern style and design
principles.The villa features two rectangular masses contrasted by size and the vertical and horizontal orientation of each.
The small vertical stairwell element was originally added to
the house at a 90 degree angle, creating an L shape, but Le
Corbusier changed it for the purpose of unity. One can see
even more evidence of what would become Le Corbusiers
recognizable style.

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JOSHUA MOLLMAN

ARCHITECTURAL THEORIES AND CONCEPTS

FALL 2014

LE CORBUSIER
A PRECEDENT ANALYSIS

VILLA SAVOYE

ANALYSIS

POISSY, FRANCE, 1929-31

2D ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE & CIRCULATION

Key:
Primary Axis
Square Grid
Central Ramp
Stairs

The organizational systems of each floor, set into the same grid allowing for a separation of structure and enclosure, are:
Access curve determined by cars turning radius, balanced asymmetry on primary
axis
Rectangular slab divided on a diagonal axis into balanced public and private areas
Free curved roof screens which both proclaim and contain the relationship to
natural surroundings (Baker 1984).
The movement route has special significance, being the means of linking the successive experiences provided by the villa (Baker 1984)

STRUCTURE

The Villa Savoye was designed as a summer home for the Savoye family. According to Le
Corbusier, they were clients totally free of preconceptions, ancient or modern (Quoted in Baltanas 2005). Le Corbusier aimed to integrate the home and the automobile,
and because it was to be a summer home, he also wanted to allow for contemplation
of nature (Benton 1987). It is described as a receptacle for sunlight elevated above the
landscape (Baker 1984).
Key:

CONCEPT

Piloti/Column

ACCESS CURVE, SLAB, & ROOFTOP

Grid

There is a structural grid of 5 x 5 pilotis (modified because of the ramp) which


becomes a rectangular space on the first floor due to the slight prolongation of two of its facades (Baltanas 2005). The column grid extends through
all three levels, sometimes concealed within walls, which are not structural. This grid allows for a freef floor plan and facade (two of the Five Points).

PLAN TO ELEVATION RELATIONSHIP

Key:
Interior
Circulation

Key:
Access Curve

Vehicle
Circulation

Pilotis
Central Slab

The essential concept of the villa consists of three distinct layered elements: the
ground-floor access curve, first floor slab, and second floor curved roof screen. All
three are linked by a ramp spanning all of the floors, as the route of movement was
highly influencial in determining the forms.
This regular cubic form provides an ordering baseline which states the major theme of
the design, that of the relationship between an elevated cubic volume and its surroundings. The roof screen and access volume explore the fundamental tension between
curves and the orthoganal system...
Geoffrey H. Baker (Baker 1984)
The house is a box in the air, pierced all round, without interruption, by a horizontal
window.
Le Corbusier (Quoted in Baltanas 2005)
The sense of dynamism is encouraged by the way the route curves around the access
volume and by the dramatic exploitation of the ramp.
Geoffrey H. Baker (Baker 1984)

Roof Screen

The grid of the pilotis can be seen in both plan and section views. The access volume on the ground floor is seen in elevation as a segmented curve of glazing, while the curved roof screen is seen on the top floor. The front edge
of the slab appears as the largest rectangular volume in elevation view, and
the ribbon windows (one of the five points) have been highlighted in yellow.
Ribbon Windows

MASSING & HIERARCHY

Key:
Massing
Primary
Hierarchy
Secondary
Hierarchy

The silhouette (red) is very simple and linear, and there is very little hierarchy other than size. From the second elevation, the silhouette is slightly different. However, the general idea is very much the same. The large slab is hierarchical in size, where one can even see the extension of the form over the
grid. Additionally, the roof screen is pushed towards one side of the roof.

wwwwww

JOSHUA MOLLMAN

ARCHITECTURAL THEORIES AND CONCEPTS

FALL 2014