Thursday, January 27, 2011

SPATIAL | A Reflection on Le Corbusier's 5 Points

 In reading through Le Corbusier's Five Points Towards a New Architecture there is an immense amount of practicality, purpose and function. It is also very interesting to see how each element, or 'point', is multi-faceted as they serve multiple purposes and have somewhat of a give and take relationship with other elements.

What resonated most with this point was the purpose and pure function of the supports. Corbusier expresses them in their most purest form, their presence is for support, foundation, stability. The mathematical / methodical thinking here as well as in other points is very interesting in that everything has its precise, specific place and a very particular and certain role to follow. The mention of the rooftop garden brings more light to the subject as well, it shows a willingness to break free from industry and perhaps the concise, particular manner of this and other elements.

Sure enough, Corbusier also addresses the purpose of the rooftop gardens as well; not only are they to serve as a peaceful oasis, but they also serve a rather crucial part in the integrity of the entire building. Although beauty and luxury are displayed by the garden, below the surface we see it protects the building itself, conceptualized to be somewhat of a 'skin' and it also resolved the issue of the flat roof in regards to weather and water run-off. The most interesting point he makes is "In general, roof gardens mean to a city the recovery of all the built up area."

Through all of this precision, specificity, exact, and practical nature comes independence. It again shows the purpose and function of the above elements and how they contribute to a freedom of design creating a unique experience / transition from the facade to the interior of the space.

Here, Corbusier not only convinces us of the beneficial light and illumination of horizontal windows versus vertical, but he also stresses how horizontal windows are fitting give the structure of the supports. This is also interesting as it reflects the horizontal nature of the building itself, and the strength, stability and support of the reinforced concrete as it's wider than it is tall.

With this point, Corbusier, while still practical and within function somewhat breaks free of the support construction and demonstrates the versatility the building can also have with the balcony-like extension of the floor. Here the facade can break free of the supports and dividing factors of the interior; it's interesting how he breaks from these points but still with limitation.

"Fundamentally new" is how Corbusier describes these points and it does seem that these elements are taken down to their essence. He mentions how nothing is left to be used or references from historical teachings and past periods of time, which he then supports with the emphasis placed upon industry and working towards precision and perfection. This perfection would allow the architect to have a "box of building units" to freely create, within these 5 points of course.

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