According to the World Health Organization, the urban population in 2014 accounted for 54% of the total global population, up from 34% in 1960, and continues to grow. The urban population growth, in absolute numbers, is concentrated in the less developed regions of the world. It is estimated that by 2017, even in less developed countries, a majority of people will be living in urban areas. The global urban population is expected to grow approximately 1.84% per year between 2015 and 2020, 1.63% per year between 2020 and 2025, and 1.44% per year between 2025 and 2030.What is a “city”? In my opinion, this is a simple and complex question at the same time…




事實上,他出生於1887年在瑞士,名Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris. 在他遠見中具有迷人的本質, 是來自對於城市規劃項目上,他具有闡述建築哲學的能力,勒·柯比意如何實現這一切?

What is a “city”? At some point it’s a complex ecosystem that has been creating and evolving for a long time. For example, archeologists found the first evidences of some organized network of human population in the ancient times in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China. They were called “cities” from the Latin word “civitas” which means a highly organized group, such as city-states of ancient Greece. The definition of a city is also subject to some complexity because overtime, functionality, size, demography, urban development, have made the “city” something imprecise. Think about it, in the past, the city limits were clearly defined with some fortifications or bulwark, today the limits are more blurred because of the downtown and suburbs concepts. Let’s take Tokyo city to highlight this point, the estimated city population size could fluctuate from 13 to 36 millions of inhabitants according to the city limits. This is what I called here ‘complexity’. Then, there is another level of city complexity that lies on the fact that the “city” is the symbol of the urbanization of our lifestyle. Indeed, as an urban center the “city” is a catalyst of energies, cultural exchanges and emulation. But this is also a catalyst of inequalities, a mix of constraints and issues such as pollution, density, insecurity and so on and so forth. In this case, there is a great challenge here to align the simple and the complex conception of the “city” to allow the individual and or the group to live in an urban environment. In some extend, there is only one name that came across my mind to reconcile “simple” versus “complex” vision of the city. Here is the story of this great visionary: Le Corbusier.

Two months before his death in 1965 in France, Le Corbusier gave an interview to explain the origins of his name: “if we have to talk about architecture, I am more than happy to join the talk. But I would rather use another name than my real one Jeanneret. In this case, I will borrow one of my ancestors name: Le Corbusier. I will sign all my articles and contribution with the signature: Le Corbusier.”

Indeed, he was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris in 1887 in Switzerland.  The fascinating essence of his vision was his capacity to elaborate an architecture philosophy for city planning projects. How Le Corbusier made it happen? Please follow me in that retrospective…


1917年開始,在瑞士念完建築藝術學校La Chaux de Fonds之後,遷居巴黎的勒·柯比意,在那裏他創造了他的第一個建築公司, 並在《Astorg》街上建立了自己的工作室。在那時, 他深受繪畫藝術的影響,並助長了他在美學和工藝方面對建築的靈感來原。在1918年,他與一些具有影響力的人像是奧古斯特·佩雷(Auguste Perret) & 阿米迪•歐贊凡(Amedee Ozenfant)一起探討油畫的世界,並且他們將這個藝術運動命名為:純粹主義,這原理是很簡單的;繪畫必須是以道義和技術上純粹地來表達。帶有狂氣精神的藝術,是勒·柯比意所無法接受的。他的設想是建立在清醒和保守主義之上。

Starting 1917, Le Corbusier lived in Paris where he created his first architecture firm and established his workshop in the “Astorg” street after studying architecture at La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School in Switzerland. At that moment, he was very much influenced by the art of painting that fuelled his architecture inspiration in terms of aesthetics and technics.  In  1918, with some influential people such as Auguste Perret & Amedee Ozenfant, they explored the oil painting universe and they gave birth to an artistic movement called: Purism. The rationale was very simple: painting has to be pure morally and technically speaking. The extravaganza spirit of Art is something that Le Corbusier could not accept. His vision was grounded in sobriety and conservatism.

1920年,他以活躍的畫家跟作家身分參與雜誌《L’Esprit 英譯-精神》其內容的創作,他開始使用勒·柯比意這個化名在《L’Esprit》雜誌上。該雜誌的編輯聲明宣告上寫著現代人之《前衛》運動。對於形容一個癡迷於提供現代建築風格的現代建築師還頗適合的。
這種《前衛》富有遠見的建築風格是他哲學中的轉折點。建造一樣建築物需要仰賴傳統的方法和數學跟工程學的規則,然而;在除了這個前提下,他也加入了一些來自生活的重要見解:如何以一種室內設計來定義一種生活方式?如何以最大限度地來平衡城市化的猖獗跟社會/環境問題?這個關鍵運動在1925年勒·柯比意發展的作品《Le Plan Voisin》中呈現了建築簡單性跟複雜性的平衡點。在成立之初,該項目是屬改造巴黎城市的總體規劃。由於他當時鮮少人見的看法,他被看作是一個具爭議的精神象徵。事實上,他想拆掉巴黎市中心和碼頭區的想法,以建造一些摩天大樓的建築風格,在過去和現在仍然是一個對巴黎城市規劃師的宣戰。

The 1920’s…
In 1920, he participated in the creation of the magazine “L’Esprit” (in English “The Spirit”) as an active painter and author. He started to sign with the pseudonym Le Corbusier in “L’Esprit” magazine. The editorial statement of the magazine was to proclaim an “avant-garde” movement for a modern Man. Fair enough for a modern architect who was obsessed in delivering a modern architecture style. This “avant-garde” visionary architecture style was a turning point for his philosophy. Building a construction requires a traditional approach with mathematics and engineering rules. However, beyond this prerequisite, he also included some key insights from lifestyle: how to think of an interior design that defined a way of living? How to maximize the balance between rampant urbanization and social/environmental issues? This critical exercise to align simplicity and complexity in architecture was developed in Le Corbusier artwork “Le Plan Voisin” in 1925. At the inception, that project was a master plan to revamp Paris city planning. Owing to his uncommon views at that time, he was seen as a controversial spirit. Indeed, his idea to tear-up Paris downtown and the docks area in order to build-up some skyscrapers style building was and still remains a declaration of war for Parisian city planners…


1930年時期…對我來說,一切在經過1929年經濟危機後發生的事情,對勒·柯比意的生活產生巨大的影響。在這點上,關於在組織城市人濃度的理論方面,他的想法也漸趨成熟。隨著經濟和社會的動盪,他更專注於城市規劃迎接挑戰,解決城市生活中簡約與複雜性的議題。因此,他提出了一些建議,一些城市規劃的項目,如:1929年在里約熱內盧、 1930年在莫斯科、1930年至1933年於阿爾及爾海岸的計畫、1933年在巴塞隆納、最後1933年在安特衛普、內內瓦跟斯德哥爾摩。最後,勒·柯比意闡述了建築上必須解決的關鍵四大功能之新願景:生活、工作、練習運動、動人。這種新的生活方式是如此大膽罕見,他的建築同行把他視為一個游走邊緣的人。創意意味著破裂、而法國的建築尚未做好準備。二戰後二戰結束後,對他所發揚的理念日漸增長。他受法國政府委託,為城市-馬賽計畫跟監督《La Cité radieuse》這個項目。這是一個以支柱立方體型式,開發住宅大樓的項目。這在安老院舍中的建築設計是一個重要的創新。在這個建築中,勒·柯比意試圖運用其體系結構的原則,透過城市和社會的新願景創建一個《垂直村落》,由360戶聯式房屋以《內步街道》作分隔。該建築是於1945年至1952年完工,位於馬賽Michelet大道,靠近體育場自行車館,這是勒·柯比意在他的職業生涯中所建造的1/5座住宅作品,主要由住房組成,其中也包括17層樓的半挑高辦公室設計,以及其他商業服務(雜貨店,麵包店,咖啡店,酒店/餐廳,圖書館等)。頂樓露台的設備免費讓公共使用:幼兒園、健身房、一座游泳池跟一個小型室外禮堂。正式掀幕舉辦在1952年10月14號,與眾多官員一同參與見證這個獨特的思維方式。在《La Cité radieuse》項目試驗成功後,我們可以說他以城市規模的等級來運用他的建築原則。

The 1930’s…To me, everything happening after 1929 economic crisis had a huge impact on Le Corbusier’s life. At this point, he had matured his thoughts about his theoretical organization of urban human concentration. With the economic and social turmoil, he put more focus on city planning to meet the challenges to solve simplicity versus complexity issues of city life. Therefore, he made some proposals for some city planning projects such as: Rio de Janeiro in 1929, Moscow in 1930, Algiers seashore project from 1930 to 1933, Barcelona in 1933 and finally Antwerp, Geneva, Stockholm in 1933.In the end, Le Corbusier elaborated a new vision of architecture that must address key four functions: living, working, practicing sport, moving. This new bold lifestyle was so uncommon that his architecture peers saw him as an outlaw. Creativity implies rupture, and the French architecture was not yet ready for that.Post-WWIIAfter the World War II, the respect for his philosophy was growing bigger and bigger. He was commissioned by the French government to plan and supervise “La Cité radieuse” project for the city of Marseille. It was a project to develop a residential building in the form of a cube on stilts, which constituted an important innovation in the architectural design of residential homes. In this building, Le Corbusier tried to apply his principles of architecture with a new vision of city and community by creating a “vertical village” consisting of 360 duplexes distributed by “internal streets.” This building was built between 1945 and 1952, located on the Boulevard Michelet Marseille, near the Stade Velodrome. It was one of the five residential units built by Le Corbusier in his career. Mainly composed of housing, it also included half-height of seventeen levels, offices and other commercial services (grocery, bakery, café, hotel / restaurant, library, etc). The roof terrace of the unit, free access to the public, was occupied by public facilities: a kindergarten, a gymnasium, a running track, a swimming pool and a small outdoor auditorium. The opening took place on October 14, 1952 with the presence of many officials to acknowledge a unique way of thinking. After the successful test of “La Cité radieuse” project, we may says that he applied his architecture principles at a city scale level…

在1950年代初,印度當局委託勒·柯比意規劃城市-昌迪加爾(Chandigarh)旁遮普邦(Punjab)的新首都,座落於喜馬拉雅山的高原上。他負責整個城市的規劃,所以他首先開始為印度城市的行政大樓做設計。然後;其餘的設計陸續完工,像是法院大樓完成於1956年,甚至連總統Nehru尼赫魯在1956年3月19日都出席了隆重的開業典禮,各部院建成於1958年,大會宮(Palace of the Assembly)開放始於1961。在印度,勒·柯比意也參與有錢大戶的私人計畫。所以他也為一些私人豪宅設計一些東西。實際上他將印度的靈感再利用在法國的設計和施工創作上面,像是塞納河畔訥伊的“Jaoul”別墅─這得益於印度實用主義的回報。


The 1950’s…
In the early 1950s, the Indian authorities commissioned Le Corbusier for the project of planning the city of Chandigarh, the new capital of Punjab located on a plateau dominated by the Himalayas. He was in charge of the entire city planning, so he firstly started to design the administration buildings for the Indian city. Then, he came out with the rest such as the Courthouse that was completed in 1956 and even the President Nehru attended the grand opening was on March 19, 1956; the House of Ministries was completed in 1958 and the Palace of the Assembly was opened in 1961. In India, Le Corbusier was also involved in private projects for wealthy people. So he worked on a few designing projects in for some private luxury residences. He actually re-used the Indian inspiration for some design and construction creations in France like the “Jaoul” villa in Neuilly-sur-Seine, which benefited from the return of the Indian pragmatic approach.

Le Corbusier was a great traveller: along his fruitful career he nurtured his philosophy with some inspiration coming from different cultures and different art medium. He documented his theories and research in 35 books written between 1912 and 1966. His peers considered him as a visionary, but a poor builder. Le Corbusier defended himself: “In architecture, I’ll never be one of your competitors, since I gave up…  to practice architecture in general and I booked some problems that involve exclusively matters of plastic.”


爾羅André Malraux策劃,在羅浮宮的院子裡為他舉行了宏偉的國葬,他簡單的與他的妻子被埋在Roquebrune的岬角旁,安息於生前他為自己設計了簡單具體的殯葬紀念碑。他擁有著對生命的洞察力與死亡的洞察力。

The revelation of his architecture philosophy is to reconcile opposites in order to balance dualities. He dealt with art versus technical rule, arbitrary geometry versus nature, light versus shadow, continuity versus rupture, in the end, this is the big picture: Simplicity versus Complexity. This is a critical artistic call to response to some dilemma by providing creative solutions with some art sense.Unfortunately this Great spirit died on August 27, 1965, at the age of 77 years old following a heart attack during his daily swim session in the Mediterranean beach Hawk, near the shed at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Following a magnificent state funeral in the courtyard of the Louvre, orchestrated by the Minister André Malraux, he was simply buried on a promontory of Roquebrune with his wife. He designed the simple concrete funerary monument he is sleeping in… He had vision in life and vision in death.