Le Corbusier

Born 1887
Hometown La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Ecole des Arts Decoratifs, Paris

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, NC

Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, France

Heidi Weber Museum, Zurich, Switzerland

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, Le Corbusier established himself as one of the most influential architects and designers of the Twentieth Century. Corbusier’s modern functionalist designs are known for their openness and utopian ideals, inspired by De Stijl, Cubism and the progressive politics of the 1920s. Some of his most iconic projects include the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, completed in 1954, the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is one of two Corbusier–designed buildings in the United States. The Notre Dame du Haut in particular is hailed as one of the most significant icons of twentieth century religious architecture in the world. Corbusier also designed the Philips Pavilion for the 1958 Expo in Brussels as a celebration of postwar technological advances.

Corbusier began his career after studying at Ecole des Arts Decoratifs with influential designer Charles L'Eplattenier who pushed the artist towards becoming an architect. After traveling throughout Europe including Greece, Italy and Vienna, Corbusier pursued architectural studies, and it 1917 settled in Paris, where he was introduced to various avant-garde art movements. He began publishing progressive ideas about the future of architecture and its impact on a utopian society—his most well known publications include Urbanism (1925), The City of Tomorrow (1929), When Cathedrals Were White (1937), La Charte d'Athenes (1943), and The Modular (1948). Originally focused on domestic architecture, including a villa for Gertrude Stein built in 1927, Corbusier soon expanded to larger projects, including plans for entire cities incorporating his modern, functional ideals. By the 1950s Corbusier has become and established icon of avant-garde architecture. His style of utopian functionalism was highly regarded throughout the world and he received a number of prizes and recognitions including the Frank P. Brown Medal and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1961. After his death in 1965, representatives from many countries including the United States and Russia agreed, “modern architecture has lost its greatest master.”

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