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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

APPROACHES - In The Words Of . . . .

From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988.

Le Corbusier

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Guidelines
1923 - Writings and Theories

Architecture is the first manifestation of man creating his universe. He does this in the image of nature, in observance of the laws of nature, laws that govern our nature and our universe. The laws of weight, statics, and dynamics are enforced by a reduction to the absurd: either hold or collapse.

A sovereign determinism can be seen in natural creations, giving them the effect of balance and reason. Objects are seen as infinitely modulated, evolutionary, varied, and unitary.

The primordial laws of physics are simple and few in number. The laws of morality are simple and few in number.

Contemporary man planes a board perfectly with a planing machine in a few seconds. Previously, man planed a board fairly well with a plane. Primitive man did a very poor job by striking a board with a silex or a knife. Primitive man used a modulus and guidelines to make his task easier. The Greeks, the Egyptians, Michelangelo, and Blondel used lines and outlines to correct their works and to satisfy their artistic sense and mathematical thinking. Contemporary man, using nothing at all, builds the Boulevard Respell. He then proclaims that he is a liberated poet and that his instincts alone are enough. However, he expresses himself only by artificial means learned in schools. He is an unchained lyric poet with an iron collar around his neck, someone who knows things, but things that he has neither invented nor mastered, who has during his education lost that candid and important childlike energy that makes one constantly ask "Why?"

A guideline is a protection against the arbitrary. It is the crucial test by which any work done ardently gains legitimacy. It is the student's way of checking his answers, the logician's proof of his thesis.

A guideline is a spiritual appeasement that leads to a search for ingenious and harmonious relations. It confers eurhythmy to the work.

A guideline gives the work a mathematical aspect and a benign sense of order. Setting a guideline determines the fundamental geometry of the work, defining, therefore, one of it fundamental impressions. Setting a guideline is one of the decisive moments of inspiration, one of the main operations of architecture. Le Corbusier, Vers une architecture . [A portion of a chapter devoted to guidelines]

. . . . A Swiss painter, architect, and cofounder with Amédée Ozenfant of the review 'L'esprit nouveau,' Charles-Édouard Jeanneret published a firebrand of a book under the pseudonym Le Corbusier. Released as a Crès edition, this work made the author famous at the young age of thirty-six. The book, entitled 'Vers une architecture' [toward an architecture], gave a thrashing to all that directly or indirectly hindered the art of construction from making its entrance into the scientific and industrial society in which we now live. Le Corbusier, while being a fervent upholder of Functionalism, held no disdain for the eternal laws of architecture.

[An Exerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p. 233]




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