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LE CORBUSIER, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris

Born: 1887 10 06
Died: 1965 09 27


Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier. October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International style. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in his 30s.

He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. Later commentators have criticized Le Corbusier's monoliths as soulless and expressive of his arrogance in pioneering his form of architecture.

WELZ, through his friendship with Adolf Loos was introduced to LE CORBUSIER, who remarked on Welz as 'un drole'. Welz worked as part of a circle which included LE CORBUSIER. WELZ had been given a letter of introduction to 'the architects at the University of the Witwatersrand' by LE CORBUSIER, the note reading 'be kind to my friend Jean Welz' which he presented to Professor PEARSE, who had no work for him at the time. It was however PEARSE's students that directly made the acquaintance of LE CORBUSIER by doing pilgrimage to him in Paris.

MARTIENSSEN was the leader of what LE CORBUSIER dubbed 'le Groupe Transvaal', the so-called Transvaal Group on receipt of a copy of zerohour in 1933 from MARTIENSSEN who was again in Europe, where in Paris he visited LE CORBUSIER. LE CORBUSIER introduced MARTIENSSEN to the work of Leger which influenced MARTIENSSEN's attitude to modern European art. In December 1937 MARTIENSSEN married Heather Bush, a talented student at the School of Architecture. Together they spent about six months in Europe, enjoying further meetings with LE CORBUSIER and with Leger. In 1936/1937 FASSLER visited Europe and met LE CORBUSIER in Paris in 1937, where he acquired one of his paintings. LE CORBUSIER dedicated the second volume of the Ouevre Complet to the Transvaal Group. The sketch book, "LE CORBUSIER" of Ken BIRCH lodged at the UNISA Library, contains a sketch made by the architect when they met for the first time in Paris, 1936.

In 1939 le Corbusier wrote to MARTIENSSEN from a threatened Paris enquiring about possible work for him in Johannesburg and Martienssen had to discourage him from any such hopes, proposing instead a three week lecture tour by Le Corbusier in South Africa, sponsored by subscription in South Africa. Nothing was to come of this proposal, partly due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

For more information visit Wikipedia.

Architects on this site who had some dealings with Le Corbusier:

BIRCH, Kenneth Stanley met him for the first time in Paris in 1936 and the sketch book Le Corbusier contains a sketch made by the famous architect for Mr Birch.

BRYER, Montague Leo and MARTIENSSEN, Rex Distin as members of the Transvaal Group initiated the famous correspondence with Le Corbusier.

CONNELL, Paul H was serving as secretary to the Transvaal Group at the time of inviting Le Corbusier to the Town Planning Congress of 1938.

DREW, Jane worked with him on the famous Chandigarh project, and during his visits there they became romantically attached.

FASSLER, John visited Europe and met Le Corbusier in Paris in 1937.

JOOSTE, Karl J met Le Corbusier on a trip to Europe in 1964.

LIPMAN, Alan Robert worked in Maxwell FRY's office during the Chandigarh project, on a visit to the London office Le Corbusier started drawing all over the working drawings that he had been working on for weeks, the drawings were apparently stolen by a colleague.

MARTIENSSEN, Rex Distin visited Le Corbusier in Paris in 1933 and again while traveling with his new wife in 1937 together enjoyed further meetings with Le Corbusier.

VAN DER MERWE, Johannes David Prins (Hannes) worked with Le Corbusier on the Chandigarh project from 1951 to 1954.

WELZ, Johann Max Friedrich (Jean) worked as part of a circle which included Le Corbusier and designed, with Le Corbusier and Mallet Stevens, a group of three attached houses.

All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

Books citing LE CORBUSIER

Emanuel, Muriel. 1980. Contemporary architects. London: Macmillan. pp 457-461

Fisher, Roger & Clarke, Nicholas. 2014. Architectural Guide : South Africa. Berlin: DOM Publishers. pp 12, 34, 64

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 63, 110, 143, 149, 210

Entries in books by LE CORBUSIER

Le Corbusier. Letter to le groupe Transvaal [translated into English]. In UIA International Architect : Southern Africa (Issue 8). 1985. International Architect