Le Corbusier to be a painter, writer, architect and planner, yet he was likewise an adept promoter that novel designs and theories. So when he debuted hisMaison Dom-Inoconcept home, that boasted a light and elegant form, but was also cleverly named — its location referenced the look and modularity that gaming “dominoes” (with dots extruded to form columns) and also “domus,” the Latin word because that house.

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Maison Dom-Ino by Le Corbusier

In this project, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known together Le Corbusier (or simply: Corbu), synthesized prefabrication, flexibility and minimalism. The architecture featured slim reinforced concrete floors supported by slim concrete columns. He explained his equipment as “a juxtaposable mechanism of building and construction according to an infinite variety of combinations of plans” to permit for “the building and construction of the dividing walls at any point on the facade or the interior.” at a time once load-bearing walls and also masonry construction were the norm, this was an unusual technique to structure engineering. It would go ~ above to notify much that his life’s work.

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Corbu also had radical ideas when it pertained to architectural ornamentation, rejecting decorative traditions as outdated in the maker Age. Critiquing the 1925 Exposition of decorate Arts in Paris, he wrote: “The religion of beautiful products is in that is final death agony…. The nearly hysterical onrush in recent years toward this quasi-orgy that decor is just the critical spasm the a death currently predictable.” He thought the the contemporary world had actually evolved beyond the need for decorative frills — useful, well-designed things would to fill the void, not simply in architecture, yet for furniture, furnishings and also fixtures, too.


99% Invisible
Photo Credit: negatives of the Bauhaus
Episode 225

Photo Credit: negative of the Bauhaus


Corbu’s views to be shaped by other schools of believed (like the Bauhaus) and also other Modernists, consisting of Adolf Loos, who wrote in Ornament and also Crime: “The development of society marches with the remove of ornament from useful objects.” many prominent architects would certainly go top top to disapprove ornamentation, eschewing traditional styles because that sleek minimalist looks, in part thanks to the writings of Loos and also Corbu. In the 1920s, Corbu released his own significant book,Toward one Architecture, in which hefamously composed “Une maison est une machine-à-habiter” (“A house is a machine for life in”). It reflect his functionalist vision because that the future of domestic design.

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Le Corbusier compares ancient ruins through sleek modern machines

The volume also contained a an important manifesto,Five clues of Architecture.These points expanded further upon ideas he discover in the Maison Dom-Ino, laying the end a blueprint for modern-day domiciles free from structure conventions and also historical precedents. The 5 points space interrelated, and also can be summarized as follows:

Free-form internal designs, permitted by structure columnsFree-form facade designs, liberated indigenous load-bearing functionsHorizontal windows to provide even daylight throughout roomsRooftop gardens on flat roofs to protect concrete and also create space

Corbu likewise practiced what the preached. By the so late 1920s that had begun work top top what is now one that his most renowned projects: the Villa Savoye. It was the physical embodiment that his five points, and also this video clip does great job of showing specifically how:


Corbu lifted up and supported the structure using concrete pilotis. In turn, internal columns freed him to develop open floor plans and also non-structural facades with long and narrow window strips (which would have been difficult if the exterior wall surfaces were load-bearing). On top of the house sat a roof garden, conceptually: a part of the see lifted up, offsetting the footprint that the house with lofted environment-friendly space.

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The Villa Savoye through Le Corbusier, picture by Valueyou (CC BY-SA 3.0)

For Corbu, the interplay of masses and also light do the residence beautiful — the aesthetic to be a product of role and geometry. “The setup is pure,” he boasted, “exactly made for the requirements of the house …. It is poetry and lyricism, sustained by technique.”

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Farnsworth residence by Mies van der Rohe, photo by Victor Grigas (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From the Villa Savoye, the lineage of Corbu’s style can it is in traced both behind (to the Maison Dom-Ino) and also forward to various other now-famous functions of Modernist residential architecture, including the Farnsworth house by Mies van der Rohe and also the Glass house by Phillip Johnson.

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Glass residence by Philip Johnson, image by Staib (CC BY-SA 3.0)

But Corbu’s 5 points and also Villa Savoye did an ext than simply shape residential design — they also informed years of city design, and, eventually, a collection of vertical urban villages in the sky.

Coming up on 99pi: Functionalist plans for the future — new cities and also vertical villages as “machines because that living in”