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Le Corbusier: Ideas and Forms [Paperback]

William J R Curtis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 22.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 1994

Le Corbusier (1887-1965) has been one of the dominant forces in twentieth-century architecture and a legendary pioneering figure. Many of the forms he created have become archetypes of modernism. Yet he was also a social visionary and a writer of powerful polemics whose ideas have generated intense and partisan controversy.

Now available for the first time in paperback, Le Corbusier: Ideas and Forms provides a comprehensive and objective survey that exposes Le Corbusier through a more balanced perspective than ever before.

Making full use of the 'Le Corbusier Archive', the author documents individual projects in detail, while linking the imaginative activities of the artist to his philosophy of life, his urban visions, his art and the cultural predicaments of his times. He analyses Le Corbusier's phenomenal powers of abstraction and synthesis, to illustrate how he created a potent architectural vocabulary based on a limited range of types and elements, and how he used it to generate architectural forms of compelling force.

This intimate and meticulous study of all Le Corbusier's major buildings - from first sketches to final achievement - reveals the artist's struggle to reconcile the ideal and the practical and to give institutions and ideologies a suitable symbolic form. It shows, in turn, how this most 'modern' of architects constantly found profound inspiration in both nature and architectural tradition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; New edition edition (1 Jan 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714827908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714827902
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 21.8 x 28.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 517,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'William J. R. Curtis is the best architectural historian writing in the English language, and that alone makes this book something of an event.' (Chicago Tribune)

'This is not only the best single work on Le Corbusier - a model of scholarship, erudite yet eminently readable - it is also an invaluable analysis of the creative architectural process. It should be read and re-read by every student of architecture.' (Building Design)

'It is as incisive narrative, informed by biography and illuminated by penetrating critical commentary, that this book excels.' (Times Literary Supplement)

'An admirable introduction to Le Corbusier's life and work. It is also a record of personal observation and synthesis by an informed and shrewdly sensitive author which will remain valid and fresh long term.' (Architectural Review)

'The most lucid and complete chronicle yet available of Le Corbusier's achievement. This book excels.' (AIA Journal)

About the Author

William Curtis was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and Harvard University. Curtis has taught History of Architecture and Theories of Design at universities across England, the United States, Australia and Asia.

He has won worldwide acclaim for his architectural writing. His books include the bestselling Modern Architecture Since 1900 - published by Phaidon Press in 1982 - as well as Le Corbusier/English Architecture (1975) and Le Corbusier at Work (1978).

Curtis received the Founder's Award of the Society of Architectural Historians (USA) in 1982. In 1985 he was the recipient of both the critics' award of the Comité Internationale des Critiques d'Architecture and the CICA award for best article of architectural criticism world-wide in the period 1982-5. His monograph Balkrishna Doshi: an Architecture for India won him a silver medal at the world Biennale of Architecture in 1989.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book for fans of Le Corbusier. 4 Jan 1999
By A Customer
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading this book. It is well written in a style that is easily understandable. It is direct and to the point, no intellectual abstactions or highly theoretical tangents. I found it to be a thorough and inspiring history of Corbusier's creative life from beginning to end. Curtis provides many insights into the very early years of Corbusier's development. B&W photos of buildings, drawings and models follow the text and illustrate points being made by the author. Also, several unique color photos of projects are included. I find this book clear, concise and extremely informative; it will always have a place on my bookshelf. I wish there was a hardcover version.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit chaotic, poor photos, few bldg plans & sections 17 May 2010
By Eugene Tenenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
The book is a bit chaotic blend of many aspects and circumstances from different periods poorly supported by a few hard line building plans and sections mixed with photos sometimes casual, mostly in black & white, often not very informative close-ups. Many significant designes are not included or scantly depicted. The illustrative part does not match the textual.
INTRODUCTION Notes on Invention 11
1 The Home Base 16
2 In Search of Personal Principles 26
3 A Classicism for the Jura 37
4 Paris, Purism and `L'Esprit Nouveau' 48
5 Defining Types for the New Industrial City 60
6 Houses, Studios and Villas 71
7 Machine-Age Palaces and Public Institutions 85
8 Villa Savoye, Cite de Refuge, Pavilion Suisse 93
9 Regionalism and Reassessment in the 1930s 108
10 Politics, Urbanism and Travels 1929-1944 118
11 The Modulor, Marseilles and the Mediterranean Myth 162
12 Sacral Forms, Ancient Associations 175
13 Le Corbusier in India: The Symbolism of Chandigarh 188
14 The Merchants of Ahmedabad 202
15 Retrospection and Invention: Final Projects 213
CONCLUSION Le Corbusier: Principles and Transformations 223
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book 28 Mar 2008
By Trent Sneddon - Published on Amazon.com
This book really gives you an insight into one of Architecture's greats. I bought it to get a general idea of Corb's work, not because it fascinated me, but, as an architecture graduate, because I thought I should. This book opened Corb's work to me.

It gives a chronological view of the man's life and work. It features great photos and drawings of his most important works, and some of his less well known ones too. The writing is done so well, giving an insight into Corb's theories and explaining how and why each project came about.

I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in architecture who wants to know a bit more about the history of 20th century design, and the impact that Le Corbusier had.
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