My Feedback of Studying Le Corbusier's
<Towards the New Architecture>
Le Corbusier in this book urged everyone to go out from the shackels of the old classical style or other traditional style, and opened their eyes to see the new concise style which is being badly needed, which was not a notice, and especially the architects' nonsense made him anxious. He praised the new style in the new age, the type of housing style of mechanical aesthetics like ships and planes . He meant to say, as the dish is produced to drink soup, the house was also built for living. This is the meaning of his famous sentence which is quoted countless times that "residential is the living machine" . In the past I always went along the goal or aim of the quote, take a negative attitude to see this view: put it misconstrued as "the building (or house) is relentless just like the machine". (So we'd better take a more critical attitude when we're reading, especially it's "the non-classic".)
A question is that Le Corbusier took an ironic appreciation side of immense and complex traditional architecture and decoration style, while at the same time he considered that the new building is the highest praise of art, "it reached the Platonic sublime, the law of mathematics and philosophy thought, the coordination of estrogen produced by the feeling of harmony." At first, I didn't agree with this point of view. Because I think, that the Classical or Baroque and other traditional buildings or decoration were not extremely beautiful art forms or "the highest" art? Didn't they reach the so-called "Plato type high, the law of mathematics and philosophy thought, the coordination of estrogen produced by the feeling of harmony"? No. Although, Le Corbusier marked and advocate the new architecture with boast and excitment, but in the period of housing shortage at the time of post-war, standing out of the group for new, concise and humanistic new residential building was a rare preaching, full of courage. Le Corbusier must produce a kind of belief himself, only by this way can he make the stubborn architects and dumb people convinced.
Corbusier took the ocean vessels and aircraft as the symbol of the new age, because the two both represented a "mathematical order", which was arising under this order and it was a kind of "clear, examined organism". While at that time, a large number of buildings "didn't even meet the most primary condition". And I think that means that they didn't "solve modern living problem".
Well, what did the architecture of traditional style (" old buildings ") lack in "humanism" so that they couldn't meet the demand of the times?
"The wall of the house on the top was 45 centimeters in thickness, the following each layer pick out 15 centimeters, so the bottom wall thickness may reach 1.50 meters. Now, the facade using the large stone produced an absurd result of composition that windows for daylight now were in deep in the holes, so that they unequivocally boycott the windows' intension."
In addition, the huge foundation, the sloping roof, the damp crowded basement, urban pipeline buried under the road surface, and the furnitures taking up too much interior space because of the complicated adornment, etc. So it seemed that the old buildings were not so practical or economic, and the new age naturally couldn't "hold" them.
Le corbusier thought that the architects using the classical vortex and combining rolls to decorate buildings confused adornment and art, and they were two different things-- "The art is a serious matter, and it has its sacred moment." "Art is not a popular thing", and it is "proud in essence". "Art is only necessary nourishment for the mind of those people who want to be leaders ." This was undoubtedly an announcement that he was to be the the leaders guiding people towards a new era of architecture, like Shenkle, the pioneer of the new construction period during the New Art Movement.
* * *
In the chapter of "eyes of the blind III: cars", Le Corbusier continued to advocate the importance and the great significance of standardization construction.
The Parthenon was brought out as the standardized pioneer and model. Le Corbusier said that each section of it was decisive, shows the maximum accuracy, the maximum expression, and the proportion is clear". 100 years before the Parthenon, all the parts of the Greek temples have been standardized.
Standards stimulate competition, and competition promotes the longitudinal study deeply, and then it progresses. Take the car for instance: its function is simple (twirl) while goals are complicated (comfortable, strong and beautiful -- how well they corresponds to the three standards of the buildings?!). And all cars have the same basic layout. Every factory competed with each other perseverely, so they had to reach above standardard production, besides the actually original functions, pursue harmony, perfection, and the performance of beauty, in order to win in the battle of benefit. As for architecture, "beside the actually original functions" refers to the aesthetic meaning and meanings of places, contexts and so on. Le Corbusier said that this is the formation of the style.
Let me again talk about how beauty keeps a foothold in the world of "standardization", or, how does the beauty of standardization construction embody? Does it matter anymore?
Le corbusier thought that decoration, like colour, was a lower sense, and it made the man of simplicity, the man with farmers' consciousness and the barbarian satisfied. While harmony and proportion inspired wisdom and attracted educated people. The latter needed talent of education, training. The Parthenon was constructed according to standardization, and gradually it chaged from a structure into a building. That is to say, the aesthetic can also exist in standardization construction. And it was a wrong viewpoint that only by persuing so-called sense of art, the art would be born. Its perfect component of the entirety shows that how perfect a man may achieve when he was focusing on a clearly put out problem. Le Corbusier thought, the Parthenon was based on the birth of standardization, and was in accordance with the mechanical feeling and also with our sense of beauty, and it was "the only real successful product of our civilization. " Therefore, the standard and the beauty can get along harmoniously, and can reach a high art realm.
"In order to be perfect, we must establish standards." Le Corbusier said.
* * *
In the part of "Architecture I: the enlightment of Rome City ", Le Corbusier illustrated the Roman architecture from three times, ancient time, Byzantine time, and the Renaissance time. In the Renaissance time, he took the example of Michelangelo and his tortuous course with the Cathedral of St. Peter and finally summarized.
Roman gives us the impression of mixed and disorderly, noisy and crowded, and it contains all the good, the bad things. It's both noble and vulgar.
The Roman devoted itself to conquer the world and manage it. The Roman Pantheon revealed the order of ancient Romans was simple, clear, and the space was pure, clear, and the methods were rough but directly. Pompeii instantly disappeared in a volcanic eruption, and that was the Rome after conquering Greece. It told people they liked the Greek order by the savage way, but they tried to transform it and they had their own interests, although they might not be brilliant. The Hadrian Bleak Palace was "the first great western order layout". The ancient Romans were good at making archs and walls with bricks, making the dome with natural cement and gray pavements, and not good at using marble.
Le Corbusier summarized the characteristics of ancient Roman architecture: "no gossip, orderly layout, integrate conception, bold and unified structure, using the basic geometry." And he praised them by the comment of "moral integrity".
And the Byzantine era brought the Greek's hit-back.
"The Byzantine Greece, spirit of pure creation." "Construction is not only an orderly layout and the light shining on the edges of the beautiful body. It is something that makes us happy things. This is the measure." Thus, building unified in orderly space layout, harmonious body mass and appropriate proportion and scale in.
Here, Le Corbusier mainly expressed his regret of the Renaissance St. Peter's Cathedral after Michelangelo's first design.
Michelangelo completed the chancel and domes, then the rest parts fell to the savages' hands, and it was "finished". Le corbusier evaluated St. Peter's Cathedral like this: "burdensome and clumsy. Bernini's colonnade itself, is beautiful. Facade is beautiful, but with no relationship of the dome. It's real center is the dome, but it was foiled. With the relationship between the dome and the chancel is wonderful, but is blocked. The porch is stereo originally, but unexpectedly become the flake facade."
Rome, after the Michelangelo era is in lethargy, only those who have the wisdom and know how to appreciate and restraint and resisted can only benefit from Rome.
* * *
In the prefaceof the second edition of the book Le Corbusier wrote such words:
"Buildings should be the mirror of the times.
Modern buildings concern about residence for common and ordinary people's use. It is indifferent to the collapse of palaces. This is a sign of the times.
For ordinary people, 'all the people ", the house, this is to restore the basis of humanity, the human body measure, need to the standard, the function of the standard, the emotional standards. Is this! This is the most important! This is all. This is a noble era, people abandoned magnificent. "
The English translator Etchells in English versions of the introduction said: "Today's people, read the book, will feel like having a nightmare.... We don't need to make a fuss. All inventions making up our modern civilization, have caused the same panic once."
To be honest, in 21st century we read the book and will feel Le Corbusier were a little jumpy, because the houses are of such common "modern socialist" construction technique and style, why did he use the word "revolution"! People not living in the transformation of the times can not completely realize that kind of panic. When the industrialization level of furniture and automobiles has begun to develop rapidly, the workers manufacturing the products of these industry parts hard, couldn't get a decent and comfortable home - the industrialization and modernization in the industry of architecture had not begun. Le Corbusier, as an architect, was hard to avoid feeling heart sorrow. His achieved his modern architecture ideal by actual project, and by writing books on the subject, so we've got this little book.