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Le Corbusier

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris

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Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier (French: [lə kɔʁbyˈzje]; 6 October 1887 – 27 August 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades and he designed buildings in Europe, Japan, India, and North and South America.

Dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities, Le Corbusier was influential in urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM). Le Corbusier prepared the master plan for the city of Chandigarh in India, and contributed specific designs for several buildings there.

On 17 July 2016, seventeen projects by Le Corbusier in seven countries were inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites as The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret was born on 6 October 1887 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small city in the French-speaking Neuchâtel canton in north-western Switzerland, in the Jura mountains, just 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) across the border from France. It was an industrial town, devoted to the manufacture of watches. (He adopted the pseudonym of Le Corbusier in 1920). His father was an artisan who enameled boxes and watches, while his mother gave piano lessons. His elder brother Albert was an amateur violinist. He attended a kindergarten that used Fröbelian methods.

Like his contemporaries Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier did not have formal academic training as an architect. He was attracted to the visual arts and at the age of fifteen he entered the municipal art school in La-Chaux-de-Fonds which taught the applied arts connected with watchmaking. Three years later he attended the higher course of decoration, founded by the painter Charles L'Eplattenier, who had studied in Budapest and Paris. Le Corbusier wrote later that L'Eplattenier had made him "a man of the woods" and taught him painting from nature. His father took him frequently into the mountains around the town. He wrote later, "we were constantly on mountaintops; we grew accustomed to a vast horizon." His architecture teacher in the Art School was the architect René Chapallaz, who had a large influence on Le Corbusier's earliest house designs. However, he reported later that it was the art teacher L'Eplattenier who made him choose architecture. "I had a horror of architecture and architects," he wrote. "...I was sixteen, I accepted the verdict and I obeyed. I moved into architecture."

Le Corbusier began teaching himself by going to the library to read about architecture and philosophy, by visiting museums, by sketching buildings, and by constructing them. In 1905, he and two other students, under the supervision of their teacher, René Chapallaz, designed and built his first house, the Villa Fallet, for the engraver Louis Fallet, a friend of his teacher Charles L'Eplattenier. Located on the forested hillside near Chaux-de-fonds. It was a large chalet with a steep roof in the local alpine style and carefully-crafted colored geometric patterns on the façade. The success of this house led to his construction of two similar houses, the Villas Jacquemet and Stotzer, in the same area.

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Le Corbusier Artworks
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