Le Corbusier

Swiss-born architect, urban planner, sculptor, painter, and writer Le Corbusier (1887-1956), born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century and one of the leading figures of architectural modernism.

  • Journey to the East

    Journey to the East

    Le Corbusier

    Available again after many years, the legendary travel diary kept by the young Le Corbusier on his journey through the Balkans in 1911.

    This is the legendary travel diary that the twenty-four-year-old Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) kept during his formative journey through Southern, Central, and Eastern Europe in 1911. In a flood of highly personal impressions and visual notations, it records his first contact with the vernacular architecture that would preoccupy him for the rest of his life and his first sight of the monuments he most admired: the mosque complexes, the Acropolis, and the Parthenon. Le Corbusier himself suppressed publication of this book during his lifetime; after his death, the text was released as “an unprefaced last confession.”

    Journey to the East can be read as a bildungsroman by a young author who would go on to become one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. It is very much a story of awakening and a voyage of discoveries, recording a seven-month journey that took Le Corbusier from Berlin through Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul, Athos, Athens, Naples, and Rome, among other places. Le Corbusier considered this journey the most significant of his life; the compulsion he felt to record images and impressions established a practice he would continue for the rest of his career. For the next five decades, he would fill notebooks with ideas and sketches; he never stopped deriving inspiration from the memories of his first contact with the East, making this volume as much a historical document as a personal confession and diary. Ivan Žaknić's highly regarded translation was first published by The MIT Press in 1987 but has been unavailable for many years.

    • Paperback $29.95 £25.00
  • The City of Tomorrow

    Le Corbusier

    This is a translation of the eighth edition of Urbanisme, a landmark work in the development of modern city planning. It was so recognized when it first appeared in English in 1929. A review in the Nation stated that “Le Corbusier ranks with Freud, Picasso, and Einstein as a leading genius of our time. The only great architect alive, he has turned his attention from the individual house to town-planning. And the result is 'The City of Tomorrow', a book not for the aesthetes but for statesmen.”

    At the same time, Edgar Johnson wrote in the New York Evening Post that “M. Le Corbusier's extremely important book is an analysis of the problem of the city and a solution. It sidesteps none of the issues, admits the inevitable growth in population, the need for speed and centralization, and provides a reasoned and thorough overcoming of the difficulties. This book is, both practically and artistically, a work of vision.”

    The book was one of the first to recognize an approaching “urban crisis,” and its main thesis is that such a vast and complicated machine as the modern great city can only be made to function adequately on the basis of strict order, that we must aim first of all at efficiency but that it must lead us on to a fine and noble architecture. Le Corbusier raises questions in this work that are still being raised today. He concludes from his study that the whole urban scene is one of wasted opportunities and inefficiency. He proposes an alternative course which is a bold and drastic reconstruction of the entire machine.

    Le Corbusier presents in this work two schemes for the reconstruction of a modern city. One is the “Voisin” plan for the center of Paris and the other is his more developed plans for the “City of Three Million Inhabitants.” In both these schemes he adopts skyscrapers as his most important units, but they are set at immense distances from one another and are surrounded by large open spaces or parks. They are allocated to commercial, not residential purpose; the greater tenement houses and other buildings will remain relatively low in height. The plans included in the book demonstrate clearly the scope and general appearance of the reconstruction that Corbusier proposes.

    • Hardcover $12.50
    • Paperback $13.95

Contributor

  • Colour

    Colour

    David Batchelor

    Writings on color from modernism to the present, by writers from Baudelaire to Baudrillard, surveying art from Paul Gauguin to Rachel Whiteread.

    Whether it is scooped up off the palette, deployed as propaganda, or opens the doors of perception, color is central to art not only as an element but as an idea. This unique anthology reflects on the aesthetic, cultural, and philosophical meaning of color through the writings of artists and critics, placed within the broader context of anthropology, film, philosophy, literature, and science. Those who loathe color have had as much to say as those who love it. This chronology of writings from Baudelaire to Baudrillard traces how artists have affirmed color as a space of pure sensation, embraced it as a tool of revolution or denounced it as decorative and even decadent. It establishes color as a central theme in the story of modern and contemporary art and provides a fascinating handbook to the definitions and debates around its history, meaning, and use.

    Artists surveyed include: Joseph Albers, Mel Bochner, Daniel Buren, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Jimmie Durham, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Gauguin, Donald Judd, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, Kazimir Malevich, Piero Manzoni, Henri Matisse, Henri Michaux, Beatriz Milhazes, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Hélio Oiticica, Paul Signac, Ad Reinhardt, Gerhard Richter, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Yinka Shonibare, Jessica Stockholder, Theo van Doesburg, Vincent van Gogh, Victor Vasarely, Rachel Whiteread

    Writers include: Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, Charles Baudelaire, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Charles Blanc, Jacques Derrida, Thierry de Duve, Umberto Eco, Victoria Finlay, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Johannes Itten, Julia Kristeva, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, John Ruskin, Adrian Stokes, Ludwig Wittgenstein

    • Paperback $24.95