Le Corbusier

“The house is a machine for living in. ”-Le Corbusier House 14 at Weissenhof: http://mpdrolet. tumblr. com/pos/34901891099/weissenhof-estate-le-corbusier-peter-gossel. As with many other architects of his time, Le Corbusier was fascinated with the Industrial Age. The Industrial Age brought a multitude of new materials for architects to work with, as well as new processes to utilize these revolutionary materials. Le Corbusier sought to coalesce these new ideas into his 5 points towards a new architecture. The five essential points set out above represent a fundamentally new aesthetic. Nothing is left to us of the architecture of past epochs…” (Conrads, 1970, p. 100) By combining the newly readily available materials of steel and concrete with the process of mass production Le Corbusier invents a house that embodies a machine. No longer is the house simply a decorative container to live in. The house that utilizes Le Corbusier’s 5 points actively works to improve the lives of its inhabitants just as any successful machine of the Industrial Age.
As seen in House 14, all attention is focused on satisfying the 5 points and consequentially superfluous ornament is disregarded. Rather the building as a whole could be described a monument to the Industrial age. The clean-cut corners and lines evoke a sense of the ordered factory and sharp contrasts remind viewers of the positive and negative results of Industrialism. “Industry, overwhelming us like a flood which rolls on towards its destined ends, has furnished us with new tools adapted to this new epoch, animated by the new spirit. (Conrads, 1970, p. 61) Corbusier’s idea of the “new spirit” is evident in his 5 points. The new “machine” house improves people’s lives by helping them adapt to and live in the boisterous times of the Industrial Age. The roof of the house is covered in a roof garden to give its inhabitants a place to relax from the incessant clamor of the new age. The house is set off the ground on pilotes to separate the inhabitant from the dirty byproducts of Industrialism.
This sense of cleanliness is also emphasized in the whitewashed walls giving a sense of purity and sanitation. “Economic law inevitably governs our acts and our thoughts. ” (Conrads, 1970, p. 61) As with any mass produced machine, cost is an issue. Corbusier had to settle for using the relatively cheap materials of stucco over brick to allow his house to be mass-produced. Le Corbusier revolutionized the house into an efficient machine with his 5 points. “Economic law inevitably governs our acts and our thoughts. ” (Conrads, 1970, p. 61)

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