Le Courbusier

Le Corbusier’s real name was Charles-Édouard Jeanneret. He was Swiss-French. Vers Une Architecture (Towards a New Architecture), which he published in 1923, advocated ‘the International Style’. This style rejected the architectural forms of the past – Gothic arches, Greek columns and all – in favour of the objects (as he envisioned it) of modern man’s dreams – machinery, turbines and grain elevators.

His architecture was part of a social ideology. He saw mass production and standardised buildings as the solution to the problems of urban deprivation and slum housing. He worked to design “the house machine”, a standardised house with standardised furniture.

In 1922, he produced his project for a skyscraper city of 3,000,000 people, in which tall office and apartment buildings would stand in broad open plazas with parks, and with the spaces between them defined by low rows of housing. (It is easy to see where the inspiration for the Barbican was born).

One of Le Courbousier’s most famous buildings is the Savoye House at Poissy in France, built in 1930. The building was raised one storey above the ground on reinforced-concrete columns. This must have been one of the sources of inspiration for the terrace blocks in the Barbican.