‘Toward an Architecture’ by Le Corbusier

The ‘Pure Creation of The Mind’ text we have read last week is taken from ‘Towards an Architecture’ by Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier was the one who dominated the 19th and 20th centuries’ architecture. The book is written at 1923. The book is a collection of his essays and it was belong to a magazine first then it became a book. Architects were publishing their ideas on modern architecture on that magazine. Those were not only for the architects, those were also for society to get information. It is aim was to inform people of new changes of the world. The book shows how the buildings and the society communicate. He also mentions industrial revolution and what it brought on this book.

Le Corbusier was trying to find out the theory of the modern architecture while writing this book. On the 19th and 20th centuries the ‘modern’ word used in many ways. There was modern or modernity as a movement, as a system of thoughts, as a system of understanding the world. There were also different modern groups at those days. Those groups were not against each other, they were similar.

In the book, he is criticizing the current architectural practices of 19th and 20th centuries. The book’s general idea is not on what architecture is or how it should be. Le Corbusier was criticizing that architectural practices by referring to works of engineers did. He says that engineers are better than architects on understanding the world and producing all those machines and also their designs are better than buildings. Ships, planes, cars… Le Corbusier was speaking about them as important examples which architects supposed to learn from them. He was talking about how engineers designed them when architects designing buildings in the same way. While architects designing something, they are trying to make it beautiful by adding some decorations. In the same way, when we look at cars, ships, planes we see that they are beautiful, because they are designed in a functional way.

About the “A house is a machine for living in.” quote. It is the most important quote by Le Corbusier. It is related with the discussion on the book. He is not only talking about electronic things on a house, but he is saying house is a functional thing, people use houses for many different ways, they live in it, they have activities and requirements in a house. So, a house is a machine.

Click here to watch a good detailed video about Le Corbusier

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