Le Corbusier’s Enduring Spirit: Celebrating 100 Years of Architectural Influence

Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp. Image via Maxpixel

One hundred years ago, in 1923, Le Corbusier’s “Vers une Architecture” was published in the magazine “L’Esprit Nouveau.” The controversial collection of essays authored by the Modernist master served as a manifesto for the development of modern architecture, influencing generations of architects and sparking polemics on the proposed principles of architectural design. The book advocates for the beauty of streamlined industrial designs, like those of airplanes, automobiles or ocean liners; it proposes a completely different way of building cities, favoring tall and slender towers surrounded by abundant greenery, and introduces Le Corbusier’s 5 principles for modern design.

Now, a century later, these theories have become part of every architect’s education, but they are also highly contested. Some critics argue that the rigid approach, especially in relation to urban planning principles, fails to engage the cultural and contextual nuances of different communities, leading to alienating urban environments. Still, the legacy of Le Corbusier is significant, serving as a constant point of reference for architects when exploring the balance between functionality, aesthetics, symbolism and the social impact of their designs.

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