Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who was better known as Le Corbusier. October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout Europe, India, and the Americas.
Dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities, Le Corbusier was influential in urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congrès international d’architecture moderne (CIAM). Corbusier prepared the master plan for the planned city of Chandigarh in India, and contributed specific designs for several buildings there.
Young Jeanneret was attracted to the visual arts and studied at the La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School under Charles L’Eplattenier, who had studied in Budapest and Paris. His architecture teacher in the Art School was the architect René Chapallaz, who had a large influence on Le Corbusier’s earliest house designs.
In his early years he would frequently escape the somewhat provincial atmosphere of his hometown by traveling around Europe. In September 1907, he made his first trip outside of Switzerland, going to Italy; then that winter traveling through Budapest to Vienna, where he would stay for four months and meet Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffman. At around 1908, he traveled to Paris, where he found work in the office of Auguste Perret, the French pioneer of reinforced concrete. It was both his trip to Italy and his employment at Perret’s office that began to form his own ideas about architecture. Between October 1910 and March 1911, he worked near Berlin for the renowned architect Peter Behrens, where he may have met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. He became fluent in German. More than anything during this period, it was his visit to the Charterhouse of the Valley of Ema that influenced his architectural philosophy profoundly for the rest of his life. He believed that all people should have the opportunity to live as beautifully and peacefully as the monks he witnessed in the sanctuaries at the charterhouse.
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