One of the most influential architects of all time (the only architect to make Forbes list of “100 Most Influential People of the 20th century), Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, revolutionized the building blocks of urban planning and development. But depending on where you stand, his work is either the boon of modern architecture or the bane of modernity’s city dwellers.
“My Dear Le Corbusier,” is a sculptural love letter to the master architect. Corbusier’s hallmark attire – his glasses and bowtie – is as unmistakable as it is fitting, for in a way, the manmade aspects of his persona seem to outlast the memory of his human attributes, just like the legacy of his modular designs.
Le Corbusier coined such ideas as “a house is a living machine” and “form follows function”, ideas which quickly became the architectural zeitgeist of our time. But these ideas also became the driving force behind ruthless gentrification that has been suffered by almost every city that bowed to his philosophy.
Ambitious corporations, especially in the Americas, erected sprawling cities where cars take priority over pedestrians. Even Le Corbusier’s own city – Brasilia –where, due to his concept of zonification, contains lifeless wastelands that are as dead and as dusty as his skull. Le Corbusier seemed to understand a city in the way we come to understand a toad after dissecting its parts, but he missed what makes a city whole and alive: the intersection of human diversity and conflict, the forces of human nature keep our bodies and spirits brimming with activity and life.
Though he has been gone for some time, his influence remains, for better or worse. Long live to his legacy, my dear Le Corbusier!