Today, city folk are surrounded by concrete jungles that seem unintuitive and monotonous. However, concrete was the innovative material of the 20th century that shook the industry to its very core. New ideas, methodologies and philosophies were crafted, to suit these new materials capabilities. 

Today, city folk are surrounded by concrete jungles that seem unintuitive and monotonous. 

However, concrete was the innovative material of the 20th century that shook the industry to its very core. New ideas, methodologies and philosophies were crafted, to suit these new materials capabilities.

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Le Corbusier Image Source: ©Biography artist

It was during this time that Le Corbusier came into the limelight. His revolutionary ideologies were both bold and free, paving the way for future generations to create works of art for many years to come.

The Dom-Ino House & The 5 points of Architecture

Inspired by the new automobile industry, Le Corbusier designed a modular structure known as Domino House. Le Corbusier was intrigued by how an original car was set as the base model for newer car designs. Each car would be a refined version of its predecessor, creating a line of similar yet, progressive automobiles. Le Corbusier describes structures as “a house is a living machine”.

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The Dom-Ino Image Source: ©from Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret, OEuvre Complète Volume 1

In his famous book, Toward an architecture, he conclusively stated his theories, including the five points of architecture. 

Derived from the Domino, these points would serve as distinct features that would be reflected in each of his projects.

The Pilotis

The pilotis were introduced as columns that would appear to suspend parts of the superstructure above the ground. 

Le Corbusier identified the advancement of the automobile industry. An automobile had become a part of every household and hence needed its own space.

The Villa Savoye illustrates the use of slender columns, or pilotis to hold a visually heavy mass, introducing a drama to the structure.

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Villa Savoye Pilotis Image Source: ©Lescouleurs journal

Apart from being a part of the 5 points of architecture, the Villa Savoye is a monument of balanced proportion and geometric forms. The four corners of the structures are demarcated, by the pilotis as the structure shows off its geometric superiority

The Open Plan

The Open plan was a structural marvel aimed at creating a free space that could be left, to a designer’s creativity. The use of pilotis to perform the structural task of walls freed up the use of load-bearing walls. 

Le Corbusier controlled the experience of people by providing multiple viewpoints within the building’s premise. The strategic use of walls solely for the people directed the entire show wherever required. 

Maison La Roche-Jeanneret shows the use of ramps and open spaces all focused on creating an experience for the user. The long uninterrupted ramps and floors allowed a varied visual stimulation of the space. The changing perspectives and play on lights provided a harmonious dynamic to the building’s interiors. 

The Free Facade 

Another benefit of the pilot is that even the external walls of the building do not function structurally. 

The facade could now be moulded purely for people’s senses. As a modernist architect of the 20th century, Le Corbusier believed in the expression of materials rather than ornamentation. The punctures and volumes of the facade were determined by the golden rule. Hence Le Corbusier’s works have always been the epitome of balance and purity.

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La Tourette elevation Image Source: ©Bearleader

La Tourette’s facade exemplifies the use of the golden rule in the facade treatment. The proportionate factors between the various glass panels established an order that can be recognised immediately. Half of the facades above the panels maintain a strong decorum of rectangular windows that assert dominance.

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La Tourette view Image Source: ©Bearleader

Ribbon Windows

The ribbon windows are the most apparent trait of Le Corbusier’s work. The ability to hone a facade to his liking led to immaculate ribbons running across his facade.

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Le Corbusier Sketches Image Sources:  ©Research Gate

These large windows allowed ample light to enter the building during the daytime. What’s more Le Corbusier introduced these windows to allow a uniform amount of light to enter the structure. The precise amount of light at a particular time during the day would elicit different components inside the building. 

A delicate balance between the internal walls and the natural sunlight ensures a worthwhile experience for the user.

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Villa Stein Image Sources: ©GARCHES

The Villa Stein is a solid composition of volumes that are proportionate to one another. The use of ribbon windows to regulate natural light within the structure is another coherent means of control by Le Corbusier.

The Roof Garden

The Domino shows a staircase leading up to the topmost slab. This route is an indicator of Le Corbusier’s ambitions to utilise the roof.

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Roof Garden View 1 Image Source: aadair4 on ©Flickr

Le Corbusier believed that the building must compensate for the land it occupies. The addition of nature into the build space is an especially important trait which revitalises the spirit of any individual.

This was a stretch towards biophilic designs to retain mental and physical peace. 

The Villa Savoye is an elegant example of a roof garden designed for the modern-day household.

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Roof Garden View 1 Image Source: ©Flickr

Standards set by Le Corbusier and his concrete framework isn’t only a historical milestone for architects in the 20th century. The methodology and the understanding of the psyche of people and their needs are highlighted simplistically and efficiently.

Kunal Mathur
Author

Kunal is a charismatic individual, with a passion for food, travel and of course writing. His thirst for new experiences has helped him develop diverse portfolio of talents. He has worked with NGO’s pertaining to animals, children, and rural development while working as an architect for large corporations.

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