Le Corbusier: a flawed brand of architecture

Famed modernist designed with everything but the human in mind

"Architecture," pronounced the famed modern architect Le Corbusier, "is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light."

And what a preposterous statement that is, even coming from this supremely dogmatic thinker. Astonishingly, Le Corbusier’s definition manages to overlook the single operative purpose of every proper work of architecture in history: that of enclosing interior volume, or in plain words, providing shelter.

The "learned game" Le Corbusier describes is much more akin to sculpture than to architecture, though no one seemed willing to call the great man’s bluff at the time.

If Le Corbusier’s bizarre definition managed to neglect architecture’s central purpose, we shouldn’t be too surprised. Of all the great modernists — and despite his many addled theoretical excursions, he was certainly that — his works have proven the most susceptible to the critical lens of retrospect.