Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrowby Published 4 Nov 2014
|Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow.pdf|
The Raven is a riveting biography of Le Corbusier—a man who invented new ways of building and thinking. The Raven (a translation of his invented name) is a penetrating psychological portrait of a true genius and constant self-inventor, as well as a sweeping tale filled with exotic locales, sex and celebrity (he was a lover of Josephine Baker), and high-stakes projects. In Flint’s telling, Corbusier isn’t just the grandfather of modern architecture but a man who sought to remake the world according to his vision, dispelling the Victorian style and replacing it with something never seen before. His legacy remains controversial today, as the world grapples with how to house its skyrocketing urban population and the cult of the “starchitect” continues to grow.The Raven is for readers fascinated by the complex personal lives and outsized visions of both groundbreaking artists and dazzling, charismatic innovators like Steve Jobs.
"Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow" Reviews
O pierwszym zbudowanym w Marsylii według projektu Le Corbusiera bloku mieszkalnym, w którym metraż kawalerki wynosił 28 m kw., mówiono, że przypomina koszary, króliczą kolonię i że ludzie zwariują mieszkając w takim stłoczeniu. Nawet mieszkańcy luksusowych willi projektu Szwajcara skarżyli się, że nie da się w nich mieszkać. O tym, jak udało mu się, pomimo krytyki, zostać jednym z najbardziej wpływowych architektów XX wieku, a jednocześnie pierwszym przedstawicielem swojej specjalności, który uzyskał status globalnego celebryty, człowiekiem który wywarł największy wpływ na to jak dziś postrzegamy architekturę pisze Anthony Flint.
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It was touch and go as to whether I was going to read past the first few pages of Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow. We find Le Corbusier and Josephine Baker in a stateroom on a cruise ship returning to Europe from South America. The author tells us what Le Corbusier is thinking and how he is propping himself up on an elbow and how crisp the sheets are.
Since this is a biography of Le Corbusier, and not a novel about his life, I was surprised to find what appears to be speculation and outright imagination. It is certainly possible to write history that is both accurate and lively without resorting to making things up. I enjoy Candice Millard's and Matthew Algeo's histories for example. Lynne Olson and Dominic Sandbrook also come to mind as historians who can back up every statement and tell a great story at the same time.
But I'm glad I kept on with Modern Man, because the imagined thoughts were not frequent, and I really wanted to know a little about the first "starchitect." This was quite a good book for someone like me who has no background in architecture, but would like to learn a little, and is more interested in the man and the times.
Le Corbusier, who early on decided to go by the single name, a made up one at that, may well have been a brilliant architect, but that seems to be debatable. What is certain is that he was a master self-promoter and odd character. It's amazing what you can get away with if people think you are a genius. He joined the Vichy government as soon as it was in place and then when the Americans were on the way, he switched to their side without missing a beat. Everyone, including DeGaulle, knew Le Corbusier was lying when he claimed to have been in the Resistance, but they overlooked it.
A decent introduction to the man and the pioneer star architect.
First and foremost, I’m a contractor and after reading his believe me, I would not have wanted to work on any of hist projects.
The saying that art is in the eye of the beholder definitely applies to Le Corbusier’s designs. His wife was right, they were bland and passionless. While he aspired to make living functional for the masses, he vision was clouded with his on narcissistic attitude. Any successful project requires a good working relationship between owner, contractor and A/E. In his case, that would have been an impossibility and then you have him ignored major construction issues with his projects: electrical, HVAC, roofing and plumbing. Throw in cost overruns and you wind-up with a disaster and yet he cared nothing of the problems. They weren’t his. If they weren’t his problems, then whose were they? And then there’s the man himself. His natural demeanor and egotistical approach to life is appalling. A known collaborator with the Vichy Government! For those who aren’t historically up-to-date, that makes him a supporter of the Nazi regime. That alone would be enough to not hire him.
Now, were some his designs ground-breaking? Yes and no. I depends how you define ground breaking. His quote masterpieces at Untied d Habitation and Chandigarh led to the greatest disaster to ever hit the US urban infrastructure-the projects. I wouldn’t want that on my resume.
Enough about the man, the review is to concentrate on the author’s work.
Anthony Flint does an excellent job in providing readers with a wonderful historical walk through Le Corbusier’s life and all the people he came in contact with that would accept his ideas and make him one of the most sought-after architects of his time.
Well done, Mr. Flint.
This immensely readable and accessible biography of one of the twentieth century’s greatest and most influential architects is well researched and narrated in a lively and engaging way. It moves about in time, and personally I prefer a more strictly chronological approach, but on the whole that doesn’t detract from the reader’s enjoyment. What does detract is the lack of illustrations, and I can’t understand why this wasn’t considered important. A general reader without much architectural knowledge can’t be expected to know the buildings the author mentions, and as this seems a book very much aimed at the general reader – so why not add illustrations? However, overall this is a welcome addition to the study of Le Corbusier and his work, and I very much enjoyed it.
Informative, but too worshipful of its subject while admitting his flaws, leaving the impression of an apologia.