The urban planning designs that Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887-1965) proposed in the 1920s provided the benchmark for what we consider today as the modern city. For their time, they were hugely radical.
With only an art school background, Le Corbusier took on his first architectural commission aged eighteen, teaching himself from books in the library. His first buildings were a success, but he grew tired of the embellishments and decorative additions history and tradition had drummed into architects. As he progressed, so did he strip back his designs. The Notre-Dame-du-Haut in Ronchamp is the pinnacle of Le Corbusier’s style: he disregarded the history of the site, the tradition of French church building, and built a sculptural chapel unadorned with imagery and carvings that settled into its hillside surroundings.
The works Le Corbusier created on canvas and paper – from his paintings to his urban plans – are simple and forward-thinking images that shake off the weight of visual traditions, and look optimistically to the future.