Villa Savoye Essay
Labelled as one of Le Corbusier’s defining buildings, the Villa Savoye has had a profound impact on the modernist movement through out the twentieth century which became commonly known as international style.
Designed with the help of his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and built between nineteen twenty-eight and nineteen thirty-one, the villa savoye was constructed on the underlying themes proposed in Le Corbusier’s thesis towards a new architecture; these underlying themes proposed in his formula labelled “The Five Points for a New Architecture” where, (1) pilotis (thin columns) that raised the building off the ground, (2) roof terrace, (3) free plan, (4) free facade, and (5) horizontal windows. ” Le Corbusier’s reasoning for his principles seem to come from a variety of aspects unrelated to each other.
He argued, “If a man does not move forward he becomes bankrupt. ” Therefore promoting a need for a new epoch. However at the same time he upheld theories of the past when he says “Architecture is a thing of art, a phenomenon of the emotions, lying outside questions of construction and beyond them. The purpose of construction is to make things hold together; of architecture to move us. ” His formulation of new principles seems to relate around the arousal of senses within an individual.
His desire to create a new epoch was constantly underpinned by previous theories this one in particular with origins with Greece, Vitruvius, and the Renaissance period. Despite its contradictory nature, Le Corbusier uses the past to formulate his new epoch unlike other architects at that time. Likewise, Le Corbusier argues “the house is a machine for living. ” By continually using mechanical references, Le Corbusier is somewhat dictating how to use the building.
His admiration of the airplane, ocean liner and car ndustry, seen to be the height of innovation at that time, is clearly evident in Towards a New Architecture with the numerous images on show therefore solidifying his desire to create a new epoch in the form of the Villa Savoye. Alongside this mechanical theme was the need for mathematics. These two principles always seem to consistently coincide with each other though out the book and even the building. By establishing mathematical harmonies, Le Corbusier further solidifies his principles with his reminders to architects in the form of mass, regulating lines and plan, which will be elaborated on during the essay.
All these theories will be related back to the existence of the Villa Savoye and a variety of ideas will be explored determining whether there is a correlation between Le Corbusier’s theories and the evolution of modernist architecture. By including historical critiques, the aim is to determine whether Le Corbusier had a profound impact on modernist architecture. A special emphasis will also be placed on his book Towards a New Architecture in which the Villa Savoye has said to be designed in accordance with.
At the time of the Villa Savoye’s conception, the world of architecture seemed to be going through a state of reform moving away from an ornamental period influenced by movements such as the art nouveau movement to what was to be known as the “machine age”. Le Corbusier elaborated on this point by emphasising his purist theories alongside Amedee Ozenfant. Evolving technologies allowed for a change in architecture and Le Corbusier fully exploits this in his analysis of automobiles ocean liners and airplanes. Admiration for ocean liners due to their “tenacity and discipline” formulated his proposal for Maison ‘Citrohan’.
Similarly he said, “The motor car is an object with a simple function (to travel) and complicated aims (comfort, resistance, appearance)… ” This technological theme seemed to have a profound impact on the villa savoye. Le Corbusier combined the theme of the “house as a living machine” and the architect’s analysis of living to formulate the villa savoye which principles are still used to this day. As well as combining mathematics with modern machinery, Le Corbusier further emphasises his purist believes in order to give light to his new epoch.
He xplains “Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light. Our eyes are made to see forms in light: Light and shade reveal these forms: cubes, cones, spheres,and cylinders or pyramids are the great primary forms which light reveal to advantage. The image of these is distinct and tangible within us and without ambiguity, it is the reason that these are beautiful forms. ” His emphasis on geometric forms highlights their importance in embodying Architecture as a machine. The combination of these three factors brings us back to the evoking of senses with in a building.
In 1923 famous book ‘Towards an Architecture’ (‘Vers une Architecture’) Le Corbusier pleads the case of the new language. He writes about the underlying structure of primitive shapes. He concludes that the primary geometric forms should be used to embody the Architecture of the age of the machine. “Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light. Our eyes are made to see forms in light: Light and shade reveal these forms: cubes, cones, spheres,and cylinders or pyramids are the great primary forms which light reveal to advantage.
The image of these is distinct and tangible within us and without ambiguity, It is the reason that these are beautiful forms. ” He establishes the relationship between the plan and its surroundings: ‘The plan proceeds from within to without; the exterior is the result of the interior, The elements of Architecture are light and shade, wall and space. ’ Through this fusion, Architecture focuses on space and volumes and their interaction rather than the two-dimensional cosmetic treatment of the ‘Facade’.
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