“Architecture in not built but born. It lives.” LE CORBUSIER and the Right Angle.

To appreciate the reasons that Le Corbusier attached such importance to proportion in his work, it is necessary to understand something of his own philosophy. Le Corbusier from exploring the spiritual dimensions of his own inner life and that of his work. 
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For him this meant a constant and on-going engagement with his own family history, the natural world and also the diverse cultural heritage of the numerous countries and peoples that he visited on his travels. The effect of these varied influences was to instill in Le Corbusier a deep appreciation of what he perceived as profound natural laws and harmonies, evident in nature and the human body and the mathematical rules that appeared to govern them. 

The placing of the right angle has come into play to determine the intentions of Michelangelo, causing the same principle, which fixes the chief divisions of the wings and of the main building, to govern the detail of the wings, the slope of the staircases, the placing of the windows, the height of the basement, etc. 

However, what set Le Corbusier apart was his persistence in pursuing these ideas into the Modernist era and indeed apparently seeing them as integral to the creation of a modern architecture.  At a time when many architects sought to eradicate all reference to the past, Le Corbusier pursued his own idiosyncratic and personal path, in which his interpretation of the past was to have a profound influence.

Le Corbusier recognized the need to address the tension between the universal or global consideration of problems and their local circumstances:  “Architecture is the result of the state of mind of its time.   Architecture is not built but born: it lives.  The human head is made in such a way as to possess a certain independence:  it is a bottle into which one might place the elements of a problem, allowing them “to float”, “brew”, to “ferment”.  In this metaphor the head is the box and womb.  Once conceived, ideas gestate and take form.  Then one day, a spontaneous initiative of the inner being, one takes crayon… and scratches on the paper: the idea exist – the infant exist – it comes into the world, it is born.”  

tumblr_lptopvBY6C1qzp25bo1_500 I have stumbled on this image of Le Corbusier painting a fresco in the nude (Le Corbusier: A Life by Nicholas Fox Weber). He was staying at legendary architect Eileen Gray‘s Villa E-1027 in St. Tropez, in 1927. 

You can almost feel the Mediterranean breezes.  To me, it is a reminder of a “flow”– following ideas spontaneously and just doing them, in whatever state you are in, in the moment, and enjoying its pleasures…

 Article by Katrina Kocialkowska.

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