The first starchitect, The examination of the efficiency of Le Corbusier’s buildings

The place Le Corbusier holds in architectural history is indisputable. The artistic hero, genius, provocative, revolutionary and not concerned about historical responsibility. However, let’s remember that every legend has its other side and there are some everyday, dull issues, from which every ‘starchitect’ has to be examined.

Let’s take under a magnifying glass the architect’s most famous realization villa Savoye. Have the building which actually employed all Le Corbsusier’s “5 Points of Modern Architecture” provided its inhabitants with healthy living conditions?

The Issues

Let our references be the letters from Mme Savoye to the architect and Sbriglio’s book “Le Corbusier: La Villa Savoye, The Villa Savoye”. Going through these two it becomes clear that the villa faced a number of technical issues. The flat roof was leaking, the daylights atop were causing lots of noise during heavy weather (especially the one over the bathroom), and even the horizontal windows were in fact losing big amounts of heat making the villa feel very cold and damp.

Who is arbitrary after all?

One might ask oneself why such problems came up, especially at the time Le Corbusier already had a number of realizations on his account. Was it because the architect was too concerned with his reputation and putting too little focus on the real dimension of his buildings?

At this point, it also should be said that Le Corbusier was not the only one who started to use industrial elements in architecture at that time. For example, simultaneously to him, in Europe functioned the organization called Bauhaus in Dessau that worked as a coherent school gathering creative and ambitious students from around the world.

After all, two heads are better than one, and the fact of working within an environment that constantly examaines and critiques the work turns up much more efficient than a one person working alone. Nonetheless, the matter of popularity is sneaky. None of Bauhaus students have been remembered as vividly in the archtiectural history and history in general as Le Corbusier, after all.

References:

Misfits’s Architecture blog, <http://misfitsarchitecture.com/2011/09/03/the-darker-side-of-villa-savoye/>

Sbriglio, Jacques. Le Corbusier: La Villa Savoye, The Villa Savoye. Paris: Fondation Le Corbusier; Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999

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