September 05, 2007

Something more about architecture

There will not be any other post on architecture this week – after this one, but I wanted to show some last things from my 16th arrondissement walk the other day.

It is surprising to find some radically different kind of buildings, built during the same period as what have seen in my latest two posts.

In the beginning of the 20th century, when the Art Nouveau was still in fashion and some more traditional types of houses were still built, an architectural movement tried to go in a clearly opposite direction. One of the “opposition leaders” was Le Corbusier (1887-1965), born in Switzerland, but later choosing French citizenship.

Le Corbusier’s real name was C-E Jeanneret and he took the pseudonym from his maternal grandfather’s name. Le Corbusier was a visionary. He did thus not believe in the Art Nouveau, nor in the later Art Deco. He thought that the new industrial age should be represented by a brand-new architecture, which could be called Industrial Style. People needed space, fresh air, simple comfort, hygiene… He talked about “machines of living”. One of his ideas was to build enormous skyscrapers (those he saw in New York were too small), surrounded by a lot of green space. He wanted to transform the Paris centre in this way. This remained a vision, but he designed some big apartment houses, on pillars (for the air to circulate), with gardens on the top (now closed). Basically everything should be very rectangular and simple.

Most of his visionary ideas are today criticised, forgotten…, but here you can see some examples of what he accomplished (photos found on Google). (The church is not so quite rectangular.)

What we can find by Le Corbusier in the 16th arrondissement (see below) is a rather modest building. Through one of the windows, you can also see a chair, designed by him (the photo on the top). The place can be visited (but it was closed when I passed by). Another architect, who designed in a similar style, was Robert Mallet-Stevens (1886-1945). Together with Le Corbusier and some others he founded “l’Union des Artistes Modernes”. Here you can see one of a few buildings he has created in the same area. The one I pictured is fairly freshly repainted; its neighbour is not, and I believe that whether you like this kind of architecture or not - it certainly needs to be very well maintained. You will find as well the Le Corbusier as Mallet-Steven buildings on rue Blanche.
The original photos can be found on my other blog, "Peter - photos".
I got another reward yesterday, see below!


isa said...

Absolutely not my cup of tea - but I can see how it would be deemed industrial and visionary at the time.
I have to come clean, though - I grew up in an old, turn-of-the-century building. The moment I was out of the house, I looked for "space, fresh air, simple comfort, hygiene"...

It took me several years to start appreciating the beauty of my ancestral home ;-)

Everything goes in cycles.

Azer Mantessa said...

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you are to award 5 others :-)

Annie said...

I could spend hours on that lounge chair in that space.

Ash said...

Indeed! Wonderful architecture...

hpy said...

Il y a du pour et du contre, mais on peut dire que Le Corbusier a marqué son époque en France comme d'autres l'ont fait ailleurs.

Cergie said...

Pendt mes vacances, j'ai visité le couvent de la Tourette de Le Corbu près de chez ma fille, à EVEUX (à 3kms de chez elle)
Il me reste à faire ce post, mais avec toutes mes absences....

N'oublions pas que ces immeubles et villas sont d'une époque où on n'était pas sorti du passé
La villa Savoie est de 1929
Si tu veux, nous irons la visiter ensemble. Elle est à Poissy et se visite sur RV.

J'ai eu la chance durant mes études de venir visiter ces immeubles que tu montres à Paris.

Olivier said...

Une encyclopédie sur les architectes. j'aime beaucoup les travaux de lecorbusier, et j'ai beaucoup aime lire ces ecris sur ma ville prefere NYC (meme si je n'etais pas toujours d'accord avec lui).

Angel Eyes said...

That's nice.. lurrve it!

Anonymous said...

Nice work and the text is interesting to read too. I like some of these buildings a lot more than older ones. But to each his own.

Peter said...

There are many good ideas coming from Le Corbusier - and he wrote a lot. Now some of the ideas were probably out of reality (fortunatley the Paris centre was not transformed as he would have wished). Also, some block houses in the Marseille suburbs and elsewhere represent somehow today a way of living that hardly is appreciated. But, again, he also designed some superb buildings, furniture...!

Sincere thanks, but I already got it directly from Krystyna (as you)! Anyhow I appreciate very much your gesture!

Does it mean that you are a Le Corbusier fan or is it just that you like to rest in a comfortable chair?

I noted that you like it. Opinions vary.

C'est clair!

Si tu m'accompagnes, je vais ou tu veux!

Tu penses comme moi. Ce qu'il a dit est toujours intéressant, mais on n'est pas toujours d'accord - surtout quelques décennies plus tard, avec recul.

Peter said...

angel eyes:
I wanted to look at your eyes (sorry, blog), but could not find the link! Thanks anyhow for your visit and comment!

As you say, tastes are different and nobody should pretend to know what is best. You can of course always try to persuade...

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Hey Peter,
No yu're never Too late on my blog when you would like to vote, PLEASE be my quest. I'LL count all of the votes and change the (already uploaded votelist) Including the new votes.

But it seemd you are a very busy person... yesterday and today you named that, so I'll understand that,I collect votes for my new exibitions, the more advices I get the better.

No I did not read your (post?) nor others about "how to make a collage" It might be somewhere... But I'll find it Thnaks anyway for visiting! :) JoAnn

sonia a. mascaro said...

As always, another great post, Peter! Thanks for sharing!

I love so much the Church! Very beautiful!

Chuckeroon said...

and I believe that whether you like this kind of architecture or not - it certainly needs to be very well maintained. .....That's the problem, Peter. Ciyt councils who adopted these building styles in the post war yrs never maintained them, and they lacked a necessary (in my opinion) colour decoration to relive the concrete. Long ago I read Le C's "Quand les cathedrales etait blanches"....he had a point, but I'm not a total fan; rather the opposite.

abcd said...

Peter, very informative post, thanks for sharing... wow, congrats for all the good award you received from nice people.

Anonymous said...

J'espère que vous êtes remis de mon petit texte de ce matin. ;-) Je n'aime pas toujours ce qu'a fait le Corbusier, lui préférant un architecte actuel, Mario Botta. Il me semble qu'Olivier avait fait des posts sur lui dans le passé puisque Mario Botta a construit la cathédrale d'Evry. Bonne soirée Peter!

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful work. And yes, congratulations on your well deserved awards. :)

Peter said...

Yes, my explanation to you is "elsewhere", but I will send it to you directly.

Thanks! ... and I also like the church, less the big appartment buildings.

You are right, but in this particular case, the money should come from the owners. I believe that there is a local Paris regulation, saying that you are supposed to clean your buildings every ten years, but...
I agree with you that Le Corbusier had some interesting ideas and has created some nice things, but I'm neither a 100% fan.

pink ginger:

Nous sommes d'accord!


EMNM said...

I don´t like this kind of architecture, seems cold too cold

Congratulations for the new brand award!!

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Thanks peter,
I found (later) in my email your tips about "making a collage" I do not hav PP but other programs (Picasa) so I'll try what you said first in "p" and if that won't work in PP, Thanks again!!

:) JoAnn
( I like your blog Peter!)

"Dutch-English blog about Holland and Photograpy and more, come and visit my blog"

lyliane six said...

Je préfère de loin les sculptures de Bacchus, je n'avais pas vu les grappes de raisin! j'attends ton coup de fil pour les explications des awards..

lyliane six said...

Merci pour le commentaire que tu as mis sur mon blog, je suis heureuse que tu ne n'ai pas oubliée.

Neva said...

As always, I love your commentary and your are an awesome finder of information! I love visitng you...I learn so much and enjoy it!

black feline said...

i love buildings...especially those which are very challenging architectually...that's why i love Dubai...:)

Peter said...


Good that your saw the messgae. I will be back on your blog!

Bien sur qu je ne t'oublie pas!

Thanks, once more!

black feline:
Yes, to live in Dubai today must e exiting!

PeterParis said...

There is a mistake in the post. The street is Rue du Docteur Blanche, not Rue Blanche.