Of Prisons and Ideas

Milovan Djilas, Author, Michael B. Petrovich, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $17.95 (166p) ISBN 978-0-15-167979-9
Born Charles Edouard Jeanneret, Le Corbusier arrived in Paris in 1908 as a young Swiss provincial. Assimilating the purism of Leger and Gris, he went on to visit ancient civilizations, gleaning a vision of ideal geometrics from Hadrian's villa and the Parthenon. His abstracted classicism aimed to overhaul the modern city with mass-produced dwellings for the poor, villas and private houses for the rich and public buildings sanctifying the everyday ritual of social life. This sympathetic, handsomely illustrated biography argues that lumping Le Corbusier's work under the rubric of the International Style obscures his ""climatic'' regionalism of the 1930s and the primitivism of his late designs with their private hieroglyphs. Portraying Le Corbusier as a pancultural idealist who scavenged the world's architectures in search of universal roots may be a bit romantic, but it offers new perspectives on his cool boxes. Among Curtis's previous books is Modern Architecture Since 1900. (November 28)
Reviewed on: 10/28/1986
Release date: 11/01/1986
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