LE CORBUSIER - MIRACLE BOXES highlights the work of Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer, and painter, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (known as Le Corbusier), widely considered the most influential architect of the 20th Century. He is admired not just as an architect and artist, but also as a thinker, agitator, and revolutionary who significantly changed the human condition in modern society. Many of his ideas for reinventing modern living are echoed in current architectural and design thinking.
Named for Le Corbusier’s concept of the boîte à miracles, a container that can be filled with “everything you dream of,” the exhibition will focus on the renowned architect’s unique multi-disciplinary approach as demonstrated in his architecture, books, and art. The first New York City exhibition dedicated entirely to Le Corbusier’s work, Le Corbusier - Miracle Boxes brings together a wealth of his architectural plans, models, analytical diagrams, as well as images, videos, and books in a three-part exhibition.
Architecture On view at Pratt Institute School of Architecture from August 30 to October 20, 2010 in the atrium and The Hazel and Robert Siegel Gallery of Higgins Hall, the architectural portion of the exhibition will provide an in-depth look at more than fifty of Le Corbusier’s public buildings, including exhibitions, pavilions, museums, monuments, and temples. Among the projects to be featured are Pavillon des Tempes Nouveaux, Pavillon de la France, Liege/San Francisco, the Tokyo Museum, Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp, and the main municipal and cultural buildings in Chandigarh, India. The exhibition will be accompanied by films on Le Corbusier’s life and work, including Poeme Electronique, which was originally shown at the 1958 Philips Pavilion in Brussels, Belgium, and Le Corbusier 1887-1965, a documentary by Jacques Barsac.
Books A radical thinker and prolific writer, Le Corbusier published 64 books and thousands of articles. Original editions of such seminal works as Vers un Architecture, Le Modulor, and Le Corbusier Oeuvre Complete will be on display in the Pratt Library. In addition, a timeline of the projects displayed in Higgins Hall will accompany the book display, providing exhibition attendees with a comprehensive view of Le Corbusier’s work over time.
Miracle Box To give Pratt students, faculty, and visitors an opportunity to experience directly one of Le Corbusier’s projects, the exhibition will include a reconstruction of the ”working cell” that was located in the architect’s Atelier at 35 Rue de Sèvres in Paris. Measuring approximately 7½x7½x8½ feet, it was Le Corbusier’s smallest architectural project. It was designed using the proportional system Le Corbusier developed on the base of the human scale of the Modulor Man. The original building contained the 1947 sculpture “Ozon” and the 1932 painting “Verre, boutelles et livres,” reproductions of which will add to the realism of the recreation. The exterior façades will feature a selection of the symbols published in Le Corbusier’s books, which, while not part of the original design, further represent Le Corbusier’s work. Following the exhibition, the Miracle Box will be moved to the atrium of the Library and become part of its permanent collection.
Together, these three parts of the exhibition will provide a comprehensive survey of the work of Le Corbusier, whose holistic approach is similar to Pratt Institute’s educational philosophy. It will also provide the Pratt community and general public with an opportunity to view monumental and transformative work that holistically integrates art and design. The work and ideas of Le Corbusier have a great impact on the way that we design, build and inhabit our environment. There has been no other architect since Palladio who has had such a profound influence on Architecture. Through his work he reinvented the fields of architecture and urbanism, created a new art style and wrote books that expanded the ideas of modern architecture and art. The results of his prolific work as an architect, city planner, artist and writer persist today as an important reference with even greater force. His work—rigorous, beautiful, and highly creative—could be seen as a key for understanding the wisdom of the past and reconciling it with the needs of the present. The goal of it is to revive the world and reinstall harmony and happiness into contemporary life.