Concerning Town Planning

By Le Corbusier; Clive Entwistle | Go to book overview

Part Three
ONE TAKES THE OPPORTUNITY TO REPLY TO AN ENQUIRY

"Do you disown the school of thought that is typified by the doctrines of a machine for living in?"*

"Certainly not. But this movement, of keen retrospective interest, appears out of date today. One thing, alas, is certain : that is that the architectural revolution does not consist only in the satisfaction, by spectacular means, by formulae of a crushing rigidity, of certain aspirations (air, sun, space) of which we do not misconstrue the importance, but which do not constitute, in our eyes, the sole aspect of the well-being and development of man. Functionalism alone could never have attained the qualities of decency and courtesy necessary for the rebirth and consecration of a style."

Declaration of M. Raval, President of the Executive Committee of the Ligue Urbaine et Rurale, in answer to a questioner, August 1945.

Men are fools (the dictionary says : autonomous, wise, reflective, reasoning, feeling); but men are not wise, reflective, or feeling, for they remember nothing, feel nothing, see nothing. In Paris ( April 1945), around the Opera, cars are coming back; already a slight stink, already the roadway is forbidden, the pavement is already obligatory, with its chaos, its shame, its significance : pedestrian crossing place, if not . . . sudden death! No more can we look up at the sky; we are back again in the prison yard. It was wonderful how Paris offered us consolation during the years of trial; pure air, a calm eye, and the possibility of seeing with the peace of a pedestrian in Venice (there are no roads of any sort in Venice), not the Law Courts, but the buildings of the Concorde, the houses of the Faubourg St. Germain, and even (yes, gentlemen), that which remains of value in the Marais. . . . I did not meet many Frenchmen, patriots, proud of their past and defenders of their architectural patrimony, their noses in the air in the middle of

____________________
*
It is 25 years now since I wrote Chapter II of the series "Eyes which do not see " in "L'ESPRIT NOUVEAU," our crusading review of 1920-25. In 1923, this chapter reappeared in the book entitled in English "TOWARDS A NEW ARCHITECTURE"; it bore this frontispiece: "The aeroplane is a product of extreme selection. "The lesson of the aeroplane is in the logic which has dictated the statement

-33-

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Concerning Town Planning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Illustrations 6
  • Translator's Introduction 9
  • Part One - Epitome 11
  • Part Two - An Unpremeditated Glance into the Past 15
  • Part Three - One Takes the Opportunity to Reply to An Enquiry 33
  • Conclusion 126
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