Le Corbusier in Detail

Le Corbusier in Detail

Le Corbusier in Detail

Le Corbusier in Detail

Synopsis

This is the first book to give such close attention to Le Corbusier's approach to the making of buildings. It illustrates the ways in which Le Corbusier's details were expressive of his overall philosophical intentions. It is not a construction book in the usual sense- rather it focusses on the meaning of detail, on the ways in which detail informs the overall architectural narrative of a building. Well illustrated and containing several specially prepared scaled drawings it acts as timely reminder to both students and architects of the possibilities inherent in the most small scale tectonic gestures.

Excerpt

I would like to present architecture’s true image. It is determined by spiritual
values derived from a particular state of consciousness, and by technical
factors that assure the practical strength of an idea. It is further determined
by the strength of the work, its effectiveness and permanence. Conscious
ness equals life-purpose equals man.

The issue here is the meaning of detail and the way in which Le Corbusier used it as a means to convey aspects of his wider architectural philosophy. While being loaded with meaning, Le Corbusier’s details are astonishingly raw and risky (Figure 0.1). Although in many ways flawed, as Edward Ford states of Le Corbusier, ‘there is a great deal to be learned by examining his buildings on their own terms’. He praises Le Corbusier for his ability to ‘develop detailing systems that reproduced, on a small scale, the organizational ideas of the buildings themselves’. Not only do they express the organizational ideas, they also express Le Corbusier’s philosophies which encompassed not just buildings, but his view of the entirety of existence. In Towards New Architecture Le Corbusier posed the question ‘from what is emotion born?’: ‘From a certain harmony with the things that make up the site. From a plastic system that spreads its effects over every part of the composition. From a unity of idea that reaches from the unity of the materials used to the unity of the general contour’. This ‘unity of idea’ is absolutely central to Le Corbusier’s work – a desperate attempt to create order in what he perceived to be a fragmented and chaotic world. Nowhere is this quest better expressed than in the realm of detail, where philosophy and reality meet head on.

Le Corbusier stated that ‘In Nature, the smallest cell determines the validity, the health of the whole’. Such ideas emerge very directly from the . . .

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