THE SITUATION FACING Le Corbusier, or anyone else hoping to erect Modern buildings in Paris in the Nineteen-twenties, was stimulating, frustrating, and complicated.1 Intellectually architects might find themselves aspiring to build on a grand scale for a new mechanised society, but economically and socially they would often find themselves driven to erect small buildings of specialised type for a class of patrons they suspected as representatives of a dead social order. Hence their hatred of the established architectural order, of the École and the Academie--hence too their private feuds and passionate attachments to this master or that. The combination of intellectual abundance and physical restriction is one of the most striking features of this situation.
Intellectually, the climate of ideas could hardly have been richer, and remained so till the end of the decade. Extremist movements may have been short-lived, but they were replaceable. Futurism remained an active force until about the middle of the decade, the survivors of the heroic age of Cubism were still present. The freedoms of Dadaism may have proven unsubstantial, but they were succeeded after 1922 by the more organised programme of liberation of the Surrealists. Purism may have expired in 1925, but van Doesburg was at hand to provoke a ferment of Abstractionist activity toward the end of the decade. L'Esprit Nouveau may have expired with its parent movement, but L'Effort Moderne,2 last of the Cubist magazines, had already been appearing for almost two years, and there was also, by 1925, a magazine devoted specifically to progressive architecture, L'Architecture Vivante,3 edited by Albert Morancé and Jean Badovici .
These two last-named publications are important for their internationalism, giving considerable space to Dutch, German and Russian design,____________________