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This is an outstanding book. Traditionally, architectural biography is either an essay in vanity publishing or the work of architectural theorists who refuse to sully their conceptual brilliance with an insight in to character. Jencks gives a tantalising, human glimpse into Corbusier and strikes some surprising links between his work and that of more contemporary designers, seemingly at odds with the Godfather of modern architecture. What's more, Jencks manages to take our understanding of Corb in to new territory, appreciating his irrationalism and interest in natural forms and shape. This is Corb as an eclectic hippy, an early advocate of fractal geometry and the harmony of nature, rather than the one-track purist that previous monographs would have you believe. Wow!
Jencks gives us a well-researched biography of Le Corbusier, but unfortunately he does not give the reader enough on Le Corbusier's art. While the insights into Le Corbusier's life are intriguing, we are only given a cursory look at his buildings and paintings themselves with little analysis beyond the typical Jencks "multivalence" routine. It is an excellent biography, but I was shopping more for a detailed look at Le Corbusier's work itself so I was a bit disappointed in the end.