Fall 2021

ARC 342R (00904) ARC 388R (01199)

W 6-9pm 


The Foundations Of Le Corbusier's Architecture And Charlotte Perriand's Revolution. 1916-1945
Charlotte Perriand was a personal friend of the instructor
Rarely has an architect been as influential and as controversial as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, a.k.a. Le Corbusier. Derided and glorified throughout his career, he is still the subject of keen scholarly investigation, and arresting fascination, if not of misunderstanding and disdain.
While looking closely to the fundaments of the architectural force Le Corbusier represented in the invention of Modern Architecture throughout the first half of the 20th century, this course introduces for the first time an equally powerful and transformational figure, architect Charlotte Perriand, who literally revolutionized Le Corbusier's practice. Your instructor had the privilege of knowing Perriand very closely as he interviewed her some six times over the last ten years of her life and developing a degree of friendship. The ultimate interview, which lasted six hours, occurred three months before her death at 96 in 1999. Perriand has also the distinction of being the only woman who worked in Corbu's atelier (even if she proudly kept her own practice throughout), and the only person who slammed the door on him--not without taking along, by the way, Corbu's cousin Pierre Jeanneret as a lover. Her last word's were "Corbu, I will always admire your work, but the man...I don't know."
Along with unveiling Perriand's contributions, the aim of this seminar, is to engage a critical investigation of Le Corbusier's combative period, from the time he undertook the task to convince his contemporaries of the necessity to destroy, for its own good, the larger part of historic Paris, and the time when the Nazi invasion of France in 1940 led him to almost accomplish his dream.
We will concentrate on a systematic reading of his writings and analyzing the development of his design programs in an effort to explain, with some rigor, the nature of his architecture.
In so doing, the investigation may lead us ultimately to reconsider the rationalism usually attributed to his ideas, that is, the “modern” character of his architectural and urbanistic discourse, beyond the unquestionable artistic value of his achievements.