12/02: Towards An Architecture

Part of no longer being in school means I have time to read all sorts of things that I skipped while in school. I recently read most of Le Corbusier’s Vers une Architecture (Towards an Architecture, or Towards a New Architecture), and am trying to finish Atlas of Novel Tectonics and Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Here are a few notes from Vers une Architecture:

-‘Plan’ as having dual meaning, a type of drawing and a set of directives.

-‘Machine for living’ sees housing as having a set of universal needs and therefore an optimized solution

-Contemporary housing has many forces acting on it, people’s habits and preference, zoning and building codes, financial constraints (terms/preferences for construction loans or mortgages), light & air (supposedly defined by zoning), structure and conditioning (building code). Corb makes a strong point of the importance of a clearly stated problem in finding an elegant or economical solution. All of these forces create a very messy problem statement, and could use some summation and creative combining.

-“Architecture has for its first duty, in this period of renewal, that of bringing about a revision of values, a revision of the constituent elements of the house.”

[-Corb seems to think that values can be standardized the same way dimensions can be. (This may be a poor reading of his intent.) Others have made the point that standard measure of humans is an average, and is ill suited to all but the very few who happen to be average height/weight/etc. In much the same way a standardized system of values would be some sort of tyranny of the crowd, majoritarianist at the expense of pluralism, no rights of the minority.]

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