Jonathan Meades On Le Corbusier At The New Statesman

Full post here.

Meades seems interested in defending Le Corbusier (wikipedia):

“He remains, more than 40 years after his death, the hate figure of tectonically blind anti-modernists,  the quality of his work is deeper than the current criticism surrounding him…

Perhaps Meades’s best defense is on aesthetic grounds:

“The problem is that both his detractors and his acolytes want to believe that his written manifestos, urbanistic visions, utopian ideologies and theories are compatible with his buildings.”

In other words, Le Corbusier made beautiful, aesthetically profound buildings and he stayed true to his art enough to outlast these critics.

Perhaps anti-modernist, anti-socialist tendencies do fuel some Roger Scruton’s criticism, but Meades’ tunnel vision doesn’t exactly convince.  I am a little wary of Le Corbusier’s idealism, and I don’t find the charge of aesthetic totalitarianism entirely untenable:

The fact that this debate is occuring in American right-wing and British left-wing magazines may be worthy of mention.

See Also:  Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?  Brasilia: A Planned City

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2 thoughts on “Jonathan Meades On Le Corbusier At The New Statesman

  1. Meades is clearly a lover of Le Corbusier’s bulidings without a doubt, and rightly so. However, the point he makes here is that Le Corbusier’s idealistic writings did not measure up to his buildings in any way. His writing was guff – after all, he was a staunch modernist; a system of belief with it’s own credence. His writing was tarnished by his rampant belief in modernist ideology.

    Thankfully though, his writing was in no way linked to the buildings he created which, as Meade’s states, were far from the ‘habitable machines’ Le Corbusier described.

    “Le Corbusier, writer, has little in common with Le Corbusier, maker of the century’s most profoundly sensuous, most moving architecture.”

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