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Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes
June 26, 2013 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes runs from 15 June - 23 September 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. It is the museum's first comprehensive exhibition on Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887-1965), and is billed as "the largest exhibition ever produced in New York of [his] protean and influential oeuvre"; in 2014 it will travel to Madrid and Barcelona. Exhibition curator Jean-Louis Cohen, an architectural historian at New York University, gave a tour of the exhibition as part of the "Le Corbusier/New York" symposium at the Center for Architecture on June 8. World-Architects was in attendance, so here we present some insight into the exhibition, accompanied by highlights from the symposium at right.
posted by infini (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you.

My favorite Le Corbusier: Villa Savoye.
posted by Think_Long at 7:24 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


All I know about Le Corbusier I learned from James Scott.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:29 AM on June 26, 2013


Oh! My favourite architect! My favourite work of his: Notre Dame du Haut. Beautiful piece of work, and certainly showcasing than he could make more than boxes.
posted by bouvin at 7:46 AM on June 26, 2013


Ah, Le Corbusier, the guy thought he was inventing "the tower in a park", but in reality, gave us "the tower in a parking lot".

The father of both the Pruitt-Igoe projects AND the modern suburban office park!
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:01 AM on June 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


While the Villa Savoye is the penultimate example of Le Corbusier's "Five Points of Architecture" manifesto—what Cohen called in the tour "exceedingly famous and very boring

easy there buddy, I have a reputation to keep!
posted by Think_Long at 8:12 AM on June 26, 2013


Ah, Le Corbusier, the guy thought he was inventing "the tower in a park", but in reality, gave us "the tower in a parking lot".

The father of both the Pruitt-Igoe projects AND the modern suburban office park!


And with Broadacre City, Frank Lloyd Wright invented urban sprawl.
posted by LionIndex at 8:16 AM on June 26, 2013


Yeah, I know this is harsh, but (from an urban design perspective) I think the best analogy for the architects of this ilk are comparable notable eugenics biologists: professionals who have large amounts of ability, but even larger egos and a very narrow objective.

The combination of ego and focus leads to inhuman results.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who has criticisms of Le Corbusier. I guess my major reason for my position is due to the Ric Burns' New York documentary, but it seemed Le Corbusier's influence over urban planning (in conjunction with the vile creature known as Robert Moses) aided in tearing a hole in the fabric of the Big Apple.

Of course, I'm prone to the dramatic, so YMMV, I suppose.
posted by grubi at 10:24 AM on June 26, 2013


I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who has criticisms of Le Corbusier.

Well, the dude is like the Ur-modern architect. Pretty much everything evil you could think of related to modernism and its offshoots can basically be attributed to him. He also gets credit for most of the good stuff, but most people don't think about that. He had famous contemporaries, but no one equaled his scope of work or influence.
posted by LionIndex at 12:16 PM on June 26, 2013


The DARKER Side of Villa Savoye.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:16 PM on June 26, 2013


Is this a MOMA-only exhibition or is it traveling to any other museums (by which I mean museums in Chicago)? Cuz I would love to see this but traveling to NYC isn't likely.
posted by dnash at 1:33 PM on June 26, 2013


He also gets credit for most of the good stuff

There's good stuff? I would like to learn about this.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:36 PM on June 26, 2013


Whatever one thinks of the Villa Savoye linked by Think_Long (irresistably, my first thought is always "If you're building anywhere but in the desert, flat roof = interior drip, drip drip") I would love to see a chart of the price of sheet glass by date against the dates of the Villa Savoye (1928-1931), Mies's Farnsworth House, (design process begun 1945), and Philip Johnson's Glass House (1949), during which interval the glass basically ate the concrete. Except, presumably, the slab.

I wish Corbu had done more on the model of the curved, swoopy Notre Dame du Haut, to which I absolutely tug the forelock as a work of genius, and fewer like the (to me, YMMV) Bauhaus-ordinaire Villa Savoye and Weißenhofsiedlung, of which this is the part always photographed. (This view makes it clearer that "siedlung" is appropriately translated "subdivision.")

N.b all wikimedia commons links certified SFW.
posted by jfuller at 1:37 PM on June 26, 2013


I was about to make a similar point, 1970s Antihero. All the modernist architecture that has survived has either been expensively refitted, or was lucky enough to be properly built in the first place. There's a whole bunch of 60s-70s modernist/brutalist stuff that has either been knocked down, or is rightfully falling apart.

I have fond memories of being a kid in the early 70s, splashing about on squelchy orange carpets wet from leaking roofs, or innocently drawing pictures on mouldy bare concrete walls with my fingers. I thought all new buildings were supposed to be damp, like embryos.
posted by scruss at 1:39 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a whole bunch of 60s-70s modernist/brutalist stuff that has either been knocked down, or is rightfully falling apart.

The civic center in my city (Long Beach, CA) is a modernist/brutalist mess that falls into the latter category and will very soon be in the former. All that green area you see on top of the partially submerged library is a garden that was supposed to draw citizens from across the city to a sanctuary of nature and art. The entrances were so secluded and the building itself so imposing, however, that it basically just turned into a homeless encampment. They closed the gardens and I'm pretty sure everything up there is dead.

And of course, the roof of the library was more like a strainer in its ability to keep out water.
posted by Defenestrator at 2:53 PM on June 26, 2013


I know that Brasilia's public buildings weren't designed by Corbusier but rather by Oscar Niemeyer, but I think of Brasilia as being close to what Corbusier imagined when he wrote of the Radiant City.
posted by Unified Theory at 6:06 PM on June 26, 2013


Chandigarh, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
posted by infini at 8:55 PM on June 26, 2013


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