Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius as Proponents of Modern Architecture - Comparison Essay Example

Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius as Proponents of Modern Architecture

            Like other fields, architecture has also been subjected into various developments and innovations - Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius as Proponents of Modern Architecture introduction. These advancements, most of the time, were made to cater the needs of people and the demands of time. In this modern age, architecture has surely created its own ways of adapting to the age of technology. Modern architecture, often called International Style, is one aspect of architecture that most buildings of today could be considered an example of.


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Two of its major proponents are Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, who both defined through their works that modern architecture should be simple and audacious yet functional.

            Le Corbusier is a Swiss-national turned French. His real name was Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris and just adopted the name Le Corbusier in the 1920s. (Le Corbusier 1986). Le Corbusier is considered the most important architect of the 20th century because of his bold ideas in modern high design. These ideas, seen through his works, include raising the building on stilts, mixing in a free-flowing floor plan, making the walls independent of the structure, adding horizontal strip windows and topping off with a roof garden. (Gans 2006).

            Walter Gropius, on the other hand, is a German national known for his own unique style and designs. His works, in general, could be characterized through the simplicity of shape, elimination of surface decoration, and the extensive use of glass (BBC.co.uk).

            Although Le Corbusier and Gropius hold styles and techniques different from one another, there still remain similarities that could be vividly seen in both of their works.

Both architects employ the use of minimalist color scheme in their works. These colors include black, white, pale grays and earth colors. Le Corbusier, for example, used white and subtle colors in his Villa Savoye located in France.  For him, white means simplicity, newness, health and purity (Holm 2006). On the other hand, Gropius’ house located at Massachusetts also used minimalist colors like black, gray, and earth colors with contrasting splashes of red.

            Both architects also used non-traditional and dynamic transitions between floors. In Villa Savoye and Gropius’ house, for example, both architects employed spiral staircases and ramps.

            Generally, Le Corbusier and Gropius both emphasized simplicity yet severity in their works.

            Although both architects are major proponents of modern architecture and share common beliefs in modern high design, each one still has his own unique style. When it comes to the exterior of a building, Le Corbusier is known for his pilotis or reinforced  concrete stilts. The building is raised on stilts to separate it from the earth, just like that of Villa Savoye, suggesting modernized classicism (Gans 2006). Gropius, however, has less surface decoration and extensive use of glass for the exterior of his house.

            When it comes to interior design, Le Corbusier goes with an open interior plan. He also is also particular with the functionality of everything inside the building. In Villa Savoye, for example, Le Corbusier used built-in furniture for he believes that a house should be a “machine for living in” (Le Corbusier 1986). Gropius, in one hand, still values aesthetics in his works. His house, for example, was designed to theatrically work as a whole. He used ingenious lighting effects in his kitchen and interior clapboards with siding running vertically.

            As a conclusion, a house should mean aesthetically-good and functional at the same time. This is the combined ideas of Le Corbusier and Gropius. In this modern age, beauty and functionality should be amalgamated to achieve a good experience of life.

Works Cited

Gans, Deborah, The Le Corbusier Guide. US: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006

Holm, Ivar (2006). Ideas and Beliefs in Architecture and Industrial design: How attitudes, orentations, and underlying assumptions shape the build environment. Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Le Corbusier. Towards a New Architecture. London: Dover Publications, February 1986

“Interview with Walter Gropius”. British Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/gropiusw2.shtml. Retrieved on 2006-08-02


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