Five Points of Architecture by Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier is one of the most significant architects from the 20th century. He is known as one of the pioneers of modern architecture due to many of his ideas within architecture. One of his most famous was The Five Points of a New Architecture  that he had explained in ‘L’Esprit Nouveau’ and the book ‘Vers une architecture’, which he had been developing throughout the 1920s.

The Five Points of a New Architecture

  1.  Lift the building over pilotis: The ground floor of the house, like the street, belongs to the automobile. Therefore housing is raised on pilotis  to allow the automobile’s movement or the green continuity.
  2. Free designing of the ground plan: A building floor plan should be free from structural conditioning so partitions con be organized in any way.
  3. The free facade: The structure separates from facade relieving it of its structural function.
  4. The horizontal window: The facade can be cut along its entire length to allow room to be lit equally.
  5. The roof garden: A building should give back the space it takes up on the ground by replacing it with a garden in the sky.

The project ‘Citrohan 2’ introduced ideas of Le Corbusier’s ‘5 Points of New Architecture’. The Citrohan were Le Corbusier’s first attempt to deal with the problem of mass housing designed in 1920-22. Le Corbusier established his concept of the dwelling as standardized, mass produced and serviceable like the modern car. Citrohan 2 implies the elements of the Dom-Ino constructural system, that is the use of a reinforced concrete frame. In ‘Citrohan 2’, the building was raised off the ground on pilotis, which ‘free’ the ground for vehicular circulation and for services. The roof-garden or terrace, was clearly established as a component of private, domestic space. Le Corbusier voiced himself on the subject of the Maison Citrohan in the first volume of the ‘Oevre compldte’“Stuttgart, c’est I’occasion enfin!”.

Later in 1926, Le Corbusier designed and built a Villa Cook or The Cook House for William E. Cook and his French wife Jeanne. The Cook House was a terrace house, an almost perfect prototype for a small, single-family urban dwelling. The cook House is Recognized as one of the first works in which Le Corbusier projects according to the “five points” of the architecture: piles, roof garden, open plan, free facade and the side sliding window, as well as employment of the layout control (device used to control the proportions of the facade and the windows as the golden section).

Villa Cook

             As at Citrohan, the living room extended upward through two storeys, and a portion of the roof used as a spacious garden terrace. Also, special in the Maison Cook was the extremely free handling of partitions. On every floor level Le Corbusier made a point of curving his partitions to make it quite clear that they were entirely independent of all structural supports.

Having assured himself of the ‘Five Points’ in the design of the Maison Cook, Le Corbusier was about to explore further possibilities of the system. The sytem led to practical advantages as well as spatial and formal flexibility. The Villa Stein which Le Corbusier built at Garches during 1927. Again, pilotis supporting a part of the ground floor; a hollowed-out, two storey outdoor cube; freely curved partitions on every floor; a ‘Golden Section’ system of facade design; and a roof garden on top. The villa was another contribution towards Le Corbusier’s central objective – to create prototypes for a vertical city. Villa Stein possessed a sculptured stairs and suspended entrance canopies, the long, uninterrupted ribbon windows. Also, both its short end walls are blank, or almost blank, as Garches was designed again as a unit in a repetitive block of ‘superimposed villas’.

The Villa Savoye follows the five points best strictly, and can be considered as a built plan of Le Corbusier’s five points. The exterior maintains the idea of symmetry as all four elevations are really similar, which consist of horizontal windows and openings running the width of the façade at the second floor level, supported by regularly spaced pilotis. Within the points, the free plan is the most important in the design, where the large wall curves freely between the pilotis on the ground floor, which reflects the idea of the ‘free plan’ the strongest.

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