Primitivism, Regionalism, and the Vernacular in Le Corbusier's middle years, 1929-1945

by Supasai Vongkulbhisal

Institution: University of Washington
Year: 2016
Keywords: Le Corbusier; Modern Architecture; Modern Vernacular; Primitivism; Regionalism; Vernacular; Architecture; History; architecture
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2071278
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/36968


This thesis examines Le Corbusier’s middle years from 1929-1945, a period that is not often a subject of architectural historians’ interest. This work is largely overshadowed by the two phases that represent the peak moments of Le Corbusier’s career which are: the early years from the Maison Dom-ino (1913) to the Villa Savoye (1929) and the later years from the Marseilles block (1946) to the Capitol of Chandigarh (1952-1965). In studying this phase in Le Corbusier’s career, it is fascinating that this connecting period reveals how the characteristics of his design progressed and were altered—from a focus on machine beauty to a humanistic approach. Three qualities stood out during the investigation of this mediation, which were; the architect’s rational understanding of the three terms—primitivism, regionalism, and the vernacular; the architect’s study of these three terms through a self-searching experience; and the gradual emergence of the second-phase of his modern architecture. The concrete realization of this process can be explicitly seen in his urban plans for North Africa and South America and his small-scale domestic projects in France starting from the late-1920s onward. Overall, this thesis attempts to understand the relationship and position of primitivism, regionalism, and the vernacular in modern architectural perceptions through the designs of a leading modernist architect, Le Corbusier and, at the same time, to understand the importance of the study of transitional phases in an individual architect’s work. Advisors/Committee Members: McLaren, Brian L (advisor), Anderson, Alex T (advisor).