Le Corbusier By Molly Solan

Le Corbusier, who is also known as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris was born on October 6th, 1887 and lived for 77 years until his death on August 27 1965. He was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a town in Switzerland. When he was only thirteen he joined the town’s local art school, Arts Decoratifs, where he learned some skills of a watchmaker, following in the steps of his father who enameled and engraved watch faces (Bibliography.com). When he was a child, his family’s enthusiasm for the arts, Calvinism and the Jura Mountains made an impression on him at an early age. At this school he met L’Eplattenier, who was Le Corbusier’s mentor and teacher. L’Eplattenier introduced him to art history, drawing and about new art which inspired Le Corbusier to become a painter and discontinued with his career in watchmaking but his teacher insisted he also study architecture (The Famous People). Le Corbusier also for the most part self-taught himself in the study of architecture (Kids Brittanica). In 1907 he designed and built his first house, he decided to study abroad to the Mediterranean and Central Europe. In this journey he had apprenticeships with many other architects including Peter Behrens and Auguste Perret. (Pictured above Villa Savoye)
(Notre Dame De Haut)
Philips Pavilion

This journey across Central Europe and the Mediterranean was very important to Le Corbusier because he discovered three major aspects of architecture, which were the five pivotal points, the contrast to large open collective spaces and small individualized compartmentalized spaces and classical proportion through the Renaissance time period (The Famous People). He also came up with a new measuring system, the Modulor, which inspired the Fibonacci series and the golden ratio (Bibliography.com). He developed an idea of Purism, an anti-cubism form of painting, with Amedee Ozenfant who was a painter as well. The published a book about their new type of art called Apres De Cubisme. After this he moved on and continued back with architecture and urban planning and his ideas of urbanism, which he also wrote a book about called La Ville Radieuse in 1935 (The Famous People).

Villa Schwob

He presented his ideas about architecture to the world by making lots and lots of buildings. Once he had made these discoveries, he returned back to his home town and opened up a firm with his mentor L’Eplattenier. He came up with plans for villas using the new concept of cement as the base. Le Corbusier planned to make this housing so after WW1 there was affordable pre-made housing. He designed these houses with lots of open space leaving out unnecessary parts from the house. After this he moved to Paris as an architect but he was focusing more on painting at this time and helped make his discovery of Purism. He was also involved internationally in Union Territory of Chandigarh in India building administrative buildings. In 1923 he published another book Towards a New Architecture that emphasized his idea of functionalism and that a house was made for living in (A History of Western Society). Then in 1930 he moved to France and became a citizen there (Kids Britannica). From then on he continued building houses which was his way of portraying his ideas about the modern house to the world, even America knew Le Corbusier’s work which displays he was a well-known architect(Bibliography.com).

Villa Le Lac

His ideas of geometrical construction of housing was different from what they were originally used to seeing. For example, when his very first plans for a city plan called the Contemporary City were built, the government did not like the style in which they were built and painted so they would not give the buildings water supply for six years. This shows how his ideas were not liked, but he also had some fans of his work as well. After help create the new idea of purism he made a review magazine with poet Paul Dermee called “Le E’sprite Nouveae” (Biography.com). In this journal there were three reviews in particular that showed their love for this new idea of functionalism and they also criticized the previous ornamented style which was not very practical.

Unite D'Habitation
Open Hand Monument in Chandigarh India

Le Corbusier's ideas were important during his lifetime because they continued the growing movement of modernity. They were also important because he was building affordable housing for after WW1 was finished which shows how he was interested in helping the community after the war was done. His ideas were important to modernism because he brought new ideas like functionalism which helped change the idea of what architecture was during the time. His ideas are important today because they are still used today and also he helped make major changes of design and planning for buildings. Instead of them being impractical he helped them become specifically made for living in (A History of Western Society).


The Famous People. "This Swiss-born French Architect Was Also Famous For His Painting Talents." Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline. The Famous People, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

Biography.com Editors. "Le Corbusier." Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 02 Apr. 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

"Le Corbusier." Compton's by Britannica. Britannica Online for Kids.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

McKay, John P., Bennett D. Hill, John Buckler, Clare Haru Crowston, Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, and Joe Perry. "The Age of Anxiety." A History of Western Society. Eleventh ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2014. 870-71. Print.

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