Charles-Édouard Jeanneret also known as Le Corbusier was a pioneer in the modernist movement. He is a man of multiple talents and was an Architect, designer, painter, urban planner and write throughout his lucrative 50 year career. Throughout the following paragraphs i will delve into the life of Le Corbusier himself and discuss his Five points of Architecture manifesto as well as the beliefs and view he gained over the years, which led to some of his most influential post war projects such as the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille as well as Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp.
Le Corbusier was a Swiss Born French architect, his birth name is Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris and was born on October 6, 1887. He was the second son of Edouard Jeanneret, an artist. His mother, Madame Jeanneret-Perret was a musician. Its clear that his creative family and their love of the arts shaped Le Corbusier influences from a young age. By 1899 Le Corbusier began attending Art Décoratifs at La Chaux-de-Fonds to carry on his fathers practice of engraving watch faces. This is where he met L’Eptlattenier, he taught Le Corbusier about art history, drawing and art nouveau. Le Corbusier called L’Eplattenier his only teacher or ‘master’ and even when on to say that L’Eplattenier made him ‘a man of the woods’ because he taught him to draw from nature. (1) As Corbusier continued his studies with art this slowly took him away from watchmaking, and instead inspired him to become an artist. After 3 years of education it was L’Eplattenier who decided Corbusier should become an architect hence he arranged some local projects as his first commissions. By 1907 he had designed his first house aged just 20 and it was due to his ‘masters’ words that Corbusier decided to travel across central Europe carrying out various apprenticeships with other architects, such as Auguste Perret a pioneer of reinforced concrete construction and later with Peter Behrens, whom he would go on to work with in 1910. Its these travels that formed the foundations of his self taught knowledge of architecture. During this 3 year period he made certain discoveries such as the Florence Chartherhouse of Ema in Galluzo. “I would have liked to live in one of what they called their cells,” he wrote later. “It was the solution for a unique kind of worker’s housing, or rather for a terrestrial paradise.” (2) It provided a comparison between vast collective spaces and individual living cells which showed him a side of residential buildings. His visit to the Mediterranean showed him a side to geometric forms and the use of light for the interiors of builds.
When Corbusier began his quest to broaden his knowledge he was driven by his interest in the Art and crafts movements, however this expanded and made him question architecture. He wanted a new type of architecture which he found in the international style, a “style of architecture that emerged in Holland, France, and Germany after World War I and spread throughout the world, becoming the dominant architectural style until the 1970s. The style is characterized by an emphasis on volume over mass, the use of lightweight, mass-produced, industrial materials, rejection of all ornament and color, repetitive modular forms, and the use of flat surfaces, typically alternating with areas of glass.” (3) When Corbusier finally settled in Paris he met Auguste and Gustave Perret, who were pioneers in the construction of buildings using concrete. He was enrolled and worked under their guidance for 15 months.
Le Corbusier had many influences and these inspirations are a few of the fundamental basics which helped form his beliefs and between the period of 1914 and 1927 Corbusier met dozens of significant architects and painters that inspired his work