cover image Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow

Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow

Anthony Flint. Amazon/New Harvest, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-544-26222-5

Journalist Flint (Wrestling with Moses) recounts the life and times of the legendary architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier, and provides illuminating details of his most iconic projects. An introduction outlines the artist’s influences from his youth in the Swiss watchmaking village of La Chaux-de-Fonds where he learned to draw to his appreciation for the Athens Acropolis. From there, Flint explains Le Corbusier’s first foray into urban planning with the housing project Ville Contemporaire and his first major accomplishment, La Ville Savoye, a “flying saucer of a building” in suburban Poissy, France. This is followed by an in-depth examination of the artist through his work, including Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles and the church at Ronchamp with its stunning roof design. On Le Corbusier’s process, Flint delves into his five points of architecture, featuring “the essential ingredients of modernism” and the unit of measure he called the Modular. Flint does not idealize his subject, noting his infidelity, “remote and mercurial” personality, and relationships with Nazi sympathizers, but the bulk of this book focuses specifically on the architect’s résumé rather than the man himself. Flint is most insightful in the epilogue where he considers Le Corbusier’s complicated legacy, “widely reviled” by critics but also considered a prescient provider of solutions to urban overpopulation. [em](Nov.) [/em]