Raumplan Versus Plan Libre: Adolf Loos [and] Le Corbusier

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Max Risselada
010 Publishers, 2008 - Architecture - 198 pages
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Comparisons between Loos and Le Corbusier greatly illuminate the special qualities of each of these two magisterial architects. In the work of both architects there is creative tension between two paradigms: on the one hand, their work is concerned with the autonomy of architectural means, and on the other, each architect tries to locate his work in a context. These contexts frequently overlap. To Loos, the starting departure is traditional craftsmanship, the task being socially determined. In Le Corbusier's case, the division of labor between design and realization forms the core of architectural process. The assignment and means of realizing it are formulated in terms of new technologies. This revised and updated edition looks anew at the respective merits of two giants of modern architecture. As well as featuring writings by the architects themselves, the book illustrates the evolution of the work of Loos and Le Corbusier, with detailed reference to their domestic projects, ranging from the Strasser House (1919) to the Last House (1932), and from Maison Domino (1915) to Villa Savoye (1932). With excellent overviews and analyses, this book offers insight into the motivations of these two architects, so near yet so far away.
  

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About the author (2008)

Le Corbusier is considered by many to be the leading architect of modern architecture. Born of Swiss parentage near Geneva, but a lifelong Parisian by choice, he started his practice in 1922. In 1923 he published his startling manifesto of what he called "the aesthetics of modern life," Vers une architecture (Towards a New Architecture). Le Corbusier worked first at simplifying and liberating house design through the revolutionary use of new materials---particularly, reinforced concrete---and new technical ideas for mass production, which he applied in the so-called Dom-Ino and the Citrohan House. In his widely influential book La Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City) (1935), he laid down his urban planning ideas:a city of high-rise buildings set among trees and grass. His designs for large building groups proved to be as influential as his domestic designs had been. These include the famous housing project in Marseilles (the Unite d'Habitation), his League of Nations project in Geneva (unexecuted), and, toward the end of his life, the startling designs for the capital city of Punjab, Chandigarh. He also participated---controversially---in the designs for the U.N. headquarters in New York. In his last years, Le Corbusier turned away from the geometry and pure logic of his first designs and adopted sculptural and dramatic forms, as in Chandigarh. The almost mystical complexities of Le Corbusier's Pilgrim Church of Ronchamps in the French Jura opened another chapter in the history of twentieth-century architecture.

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