"We must create the mass production spirit. The spirit of constructing mass-production houses The spirit of living in mass production houses The spirit of conceiving mass production houses."
Probably the most important book in Modern Architecture. Certainly the most villified over the years, especially since the death of Le Corbusier. In it he laid the ground work for Modern Architecture, extolling the virtues of an architecture that was the product of the machine age rather than a pastiche of historical styles.
Le Corbusier illustrated the principles which he felt should govern architecture, drawing from historical references such as the Parthenon, but stressing the need to come up with a new proportional system reflective of concrete construction. He had developed the Dom-ino system by this point and had designed a few villas along these lines. Included are wonderful sketches and models of his Citrohan House, which he hoped would be mass-produced like the automobile. He even approached the French car maker, Citroen, in this regard.
He explored low-scale housing solutions based on what he called the "Honeycomb" principle, porous housing blocks that allowed light and air to pass through the buildings for better ventilation and more airy courtyards. He forsaw many of the environmental concerns architecture now faces, despite the many attacks to the contrary.
This book is inspirational for those who believe in modern architecture. The ideas are still as potent as ever. it reflects the optimism of those early 20th century architects who worshipped new technology, who had a fervent desire to do every "modern" using industrial materials, who denounced old materials like stone and wood, who preached the benefits of a social architecture for the masses. For almost a century, this book has also influenced every great architects in the 20th century.
Le Corbusier would reshape many of his ideas over time, but this book outlines his early view of architecture, which led to the quote most often taken from this book, "a house is a machine for living." But, Le Corbusier saw it in much more human terms than his critics have.
He is very to the point, and uses words and ideas that can be understood plainly by his audience. This book is not as bad as someone said. Le Corbusier's just not a romantic like the rest of us.