Le Corbusier (1887-1965) has been one of the dominant forces in twentieth-century architecture and a legendary pioneering figure. Many of the forms he created have become archetypes of modernism. Yet he was also a social visionary and a writer of powerful polemics whose ideas have generated intense and partisan controversy.
Now available for the first time in paperback, Le Corbusier: Ideas and Forms provides a comprehensive and objective survey that exposes Le Corbusier through a more balanced perspective than ever before.
Making full use of the 'Le Corbusier Archive', the author documents individual projects in detail, while linking the imaginative activities of the artist to his philosophy of life, his urban visions, his art and the cultural predicaments of his times. He analyses Le Corbusier's phenomenal powers of abstraction and synthesis, to illustrate how he created a potent architectural vocabulary based on a limited range of types and elements, and how he used it to generate architectural forms of compelling force.
This intimate and meticulous study of all Le Corbusier's major buildings - from first sketches to final achievement - reveals the artist's struggle to reconcile the ideal and the practical and to give institutions and ideologies a suitable symbolic form. It shows, in turn, how this most 'modern' of architects constantly found profound inspiration in both nature and architectural tradition.
William Curtis was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and Harvard University. Curtis has taught History of Architecture and Theories of Design at universities across England, the United States, Australia and Asia. He has won worldwide acclaim for his architectural writing. His books include the bestselling Modern Architecture Since 1900 - published by Phaidon Press in 1982 - as well as Le Corbusier/English Architecture (1975) and Le Corbusier at Work (1978). Curtis received the Founder's Award of the Society of Architectural Historians (USA) in 1982. In 1985 he was the recipient of both the critics' award of the Comite Internationale des Critiques d'Architecture and the CICA award for best article of architectural criticism world-wide in the period 1982-5. His monograph Balkrishna Doshi: an Architecture for India won him a silver medal at the world Biennale of Architecture in 1989.