Architecture et révolution : Le Corbusier and the fascist revolution

Brott, Simone (2013) Architecture et révolution : Le Corbusier and the fascist revolution. Thresholds, 41, pp. 146-157.

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In a letter to a close friend dated April 1922 Le Corbusier announced that he was to publish his first major book, Architecture et révolution, which would collect “a set ofarticles from L’EN.”1—L’Esprit nouveau, the revue jointly edited by him and painter Amédée Ozenfant, which ran from 1920 to 1925.2 A year later, Le Corbusier sketched a book cover design featuring “LE CORBUSIER - SAUGNIER,” the pseudonymic compound of Pierre Jeanneret and Ozenfant, above a square-framed single-point perspective of a square tunnel vanishing toward the horizon. Occupying the lower half of the frame was the book’s provisional title in large handwritten capital letters, ARCHITECTURE OU RÉVOLUTION, each word on a separate line, the “ou” a laconic inflection of Paul Laffitte’s proposed title, effected by Le Corbusier.3 Laffitte was one of two publishers Le Corbusier was courting between 1921 and 1922.4 An advertisement for the book, with the title finally settled upon, Vers une architecture, 5 was solicited for L’Esprit nouveau number 18. This was the original title conceived with Ozenfant, and had in fact already appeared in two earlier announcements.6 “Architecture ou révolution” was retained as the name of the book’s crucial and final chapter—the culmination of six chapters extracted from essays in L’Esprit nouveau. This chapter contained the most quoted passage in Vers une architecture, used by numerous scholars to adduce Le Corbusier’s political sentiment in 1923 to the extent of becoming axiomatic of his early political thought.7 Interestingly, it is the only chapter that was not published in L’Esprit nouveau, owing to a hiatus in the journal’s production from June 1922 to November 1923.8 An agitprop pamphlet was produced in 1922, after L’Esprit nouveau 11-12, advertising an imminent issue “Architecture ou révolution” with the famous warning: “the housing crisis will lead to the revolution. Worry about housing.”9

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ID Code: 55892
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: ISBN: 978-0-9829234-0-5
Keywords: Architecture, Le Corbusier, fascism, Esprit Nouveau, Vers une architecture, Mussolini
ISSN: 1091-711X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural History and Theory (120103)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Deposited On: 20 Dec 2012 02:35
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 22:52

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