Le Corbusier

The secrets behind the genius

Le Corbusier, genius of architecture

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29 April 2021

Le Corbusier is one of the most important figures of the entire artistic movement of the twentieth century. He is considered one of the most important and innovative architects, urban planners and designers of the last century and the founder of contemporary architecture, the modern movement and brutalism. Born in Switzerland, but naturalized French, in his life he dedicated space to different kinds of projects: from private residences to public buildings, passing through utopian cities and furnishing works. On 27 August 1965, at the age of 77, he died in Roquebrune Cap Martin, France.
Many probably do not know the five curiosities that we want to tell you about his life.

The original name of the genius was Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris. He was born in Switzerland (October 6, 1887) to a family of watchmakers, but at the age of 33 he moved to Paris and began to be called Le Corbusier. The pseudonym, with which he signs his articles written for the magazine L ’Esprit Nouveau (founded together with his friend Ameédéé Ozenfant), is inspired by the surname of his maternal grandfather, Lecorbésier. The crippling is due to the memory of his childhood teacher, the architect Charles L’Eplattenier. Many begin to call him Le Corbu, to shorten his name, which in French recalls the sound of the word crow, corbeau. For this reason he begins to sign some of his works by stylizing a small crow.

During the early years of the twentieth century, the architect entertained several private correspondences in which sympathies for fascist, anti-Semitic, racist ideas and a deep admiration for Hitler emerge. In the 1920s it seems that he joined the French fascist party and founded two magazines together with his friend and president, Pierre Winter. In the 1930s, he even arrived in Rome to give architecture lessons at the invitation of Mussolini and in ’41 he moved to Vichy with the hope of collaborating with the Nazi regime.

In 1930, Le Corbusier and the German model Yvonne Gallis got married. Despite numerous betrayals, in 1957, when the woman died, the architect rescued a vertebra from cremation and always carried it with him (in his pocket or on his desks), demonstrating his deep love for her.

One of the greatest exponents of art of his time, Salvador Dalì, never shows sympathy for his colleague. He goes so far as to say that his buildings are: “The ugliest and most unacceptable in the world” and that his death fills him with joy: “Le Corbusier was a pitiful creature who worked with reinforced concrete”. However, he also allows himself to go to a commendation near his tomb: “On the one hand I hated him, on the other I am a terrible coward”.

Le Corbusier’s death takes place during a holiday in Roquebrune Cap Martin, on the French Riviera. Despite the advice of his doctor, the architect dives into the sea on the morning of August 27, 1965 and swims more than 50 meters from the shore, he will never return to shore.
Death remains a mystery, between those who sustain a sudden heart attack and those who, in the wake of the phrase “how nice it would be to die at sea”, believe in a voluntary decision to go to death.

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