Le Corbusier was one of the world’s most famous architects, as well as one of the most well-known Swiss in history. Born in 1887 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Charles-Edouard-Jeanneret-Gris became known as one of the geniuses of avant-garde who drove the modernism movement of the 20th century. August 27, 2015 is the 50th anniversary of his death.
The Neuchâtel native, who became a French citizen in 1930, had an international reputation as a theoretician of architecture, urbanist and artist. His furniture projects, produced in collaboration with Charlotte Perriand and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, are some of the great classics of the history of design, and are still made today.
Out of a desire to improve human well-being, Le Corbusier focused on functional “machines for living” adapted to the new lifestyle of the modern era, rather than than luxurious palaces for the privileged. He did not measure the quality of a living space in square footage, or by the number of bathrooms, but rather by an exacting conception of layout and movement within a space that maximised its effectiveness.
Like other visionaries, Le Corbusier’s life was marked by a controversy - one that persists to this day. His plans for a “Radiant City” were described as totalitarian by critics. The debate has intensified in the last few years, with discovery of his links with officials of Vichy France as well as anti-Semitic remarks revealed by his correspondence.
(Pictures: akg-images, Keystone, RDB, Text: Renat Kuenzi, swissinfo.ch)