Le Corbusier (Alex)

23 11 2008

Why do people enjoy creating spaces inside and out that have elements of nature all around. What is it with nature that people always feel the need to connect to. We build houses and building on top of land, so we tear apart the natural landscape, we redesign the entire site, but when all that is done we put back a single tree or flower pot to show nature. Why? what is the point in the first place of dismembering nature is we are only going to add it back in smaller portions later on?

People do this because they enjoy parts of nature. It is calming and perhaps the simplest part of any ones everyday life. Nature adds character and refreshes even the most uptight person.

Le Corbusier wanted to design a city that did not need to fully interfere with the natural landscape around us. That is that the major part of the city (96%) would consist of parks and trees. This would help to preserve the natural environment around us.

Le Corbusier’s theories suggest that the center of a great city should consist mainly of skyscrapers – exclusively for commercial use – and that the area occupied by these should be no greater than 5 percent. The remaining 95% should be parks with trees. Also in the center there would be a train station, the “hub” of the city, and three-story buildings with “luxury shops, […] restaurants and cafés.”

Surrounding the center there would be a belt of residential buildings, in the form of those zigzag blocks with “set-backs” seen in the picture below (from his contribution to a 1933 competition for the renewal of Stockholm’s city centre). Each of these buildings are to be small communities in themselves, offering catering and domestic services. But what bothers me is that I can’t find any mention of shops, cafés, and restaurants in this residential district (or in the garden city, for that matter). Did he really intend for all shopping, out of house dining, and visiting cafés to take place in the center of the city?


Why won’t this city work? Because people rely so rapidly on the fast pace lifestyle that we have created a life that would respect nature and and therefore become less convenient would not be feasible in today’s society. Therefore people will continue to go fast and build building. Cities will continue to expand and at the end of the day when people go home they will sit down  in their postage stamp backyard with 2 trees strategically placed and never know any different about what nature could be without their interference. Peoples lives are content and therefore are not willing to change. To create a vision with change, even for the better means effort by the masses. Maybe one day Corbossier city will become reality.




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