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Towards a New Architecture (Dover Architecture) [Paperback]

Le Corbusier
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1, 1985 0486250237 978-0486250236
This pioneering proclamation by the great architect expounds Le Corbusier's technical and aesthetic theories, views on industry, economics, the relation of form to function, "mass-production spirit," and much more. Profusely illustrated with over 200 line drawings and photographs of Le Corbusier's buildings and other important structures.

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Editorial Reviews


'The only piece of architectural writing that will be classed among the essential literature of the 20th century.' Reyner Banham --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Architecture
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (February 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486250237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486250236
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where it all began December 7, 2003
Probably the most important book in Modern Architecture. Certainly the most villified over the years, especially since the death of Le Corbusier. In it he laid the ground work for Modern Architecture, extolling the virtues of an architecture that was the product of the machine age rather than a pastiche of historical styles.
Le Corbusier illustrated the principles which he felt should govern architecture, drawing from historical references such as the Parthenon, but stressing the need to come up with a new proportional system reflective of concrete construction. He had developed the Dom-ino system by this point and had designed a few villas along these lines. Included are wonderful sketches and models of his Citrohan House, which he hoped would be mass-produced like the automobile. He even approached the French car maker, Citroen, in this regard.
He explored low-scale housing solutions based on what he called the "Honeycomb" principle, porous housing blocks that allowed light and air to pass through the buildings for better ventilation and more airy courtyards. He forsaw many of the environmental concerns architecture now faces, despite the many attacks to the contrary.
Le Corbusier would reshape many of his ideas over time, but this book outlines his early view of architecture in the machine age, which led to the quote most often taken from this book, "a house is a machine for living." But, Le Corbusier saw it in much more human terms than his critics have.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seminal work September 29, 2001
By Ron
This book is inspirational for those who believe in modern architecture. The ideas are still as potent as ever. This book reflects the optimism of those early 20th century architects who worshipped new technology, who had a fervent desire to do every "modern" using industrial materials, who denounced old materials like stone and wood, who preached the benefits of a social architecture for the masses. For almost a century, this book has also influenced every great architects in the 20th century.
Having said all that, this book needs to be read with the reminder that not everything it preaches is "correct" and the many manifestations of modern architecture is darn right "de-humanizing" and "souless". This book is best contrasted by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and many contemporary architects who emphasize the importance of a sense of "living" space in architecture.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written and illistrated August 12, 1999
By A Customer
Le Corbousier's mathematical and, at times, brutal approach to architecture is clearly and coherently laid out in this gem of a book. He is very to the point and uses words and ideas that can plainly be understood by his audience. This book is not as bad as some people say it is - Le Corbousier's just not a romantic like the rest of us!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for Architecture students July 24, 2006
Worth the read just for Le Corbusier's description of the effects that a building has on the psyche's of its users. Lots of great line drawings. When reading, remember that the book is a collection of magazine articles, hence the repitition that occurs from chapter to chapter. The book should have been only half as long as it is; a lot of unnecessary filler.
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102 of 144 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars worthless and even dangerous November 7, 1999
This is probably the stupidest book I've ever read. It amazes me that people still read it as if it has something worthwhile to offer. I read it 21 years ago when I was 17, and I filled the margins with harsh criticism. I looked at it again a couple years ago to see if I still agreed with those criticisms and I did. The book is a monument to illogic, and what's frightening is that it's been enormously influential. The basic thesis is this - airplanes, ships and grain silos look cool, so our buildings should look like them. If anyone tries to convince you that the message is deeper than that, don't be fooled. It's rubbish. Unfortunately it goes beyond buildings to urban planning. And it was very influential in this realm also. To devastating effect. This is probably a good point to refer anyone who's considering this book to Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities, not only because of her specifics, but because of her method. Corbusier envisioned utopias and decided they were perfect models for a brave new world without any research or logical basis whatsoever. Jane Jacobs studied real cities, real neighborhoods and real people and came to conclusions from her observations of reality. Another book I'd recommend as an antidote to Towards a New Architecture is Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language. I'm not a mindless devotee of Alexander - the book is a mixture of wisdom, common sense and nonsense. But it has real value, unlike Towards a New Architecture (except for it's historical importance), and my point here is Alexander's methodology. He and his colleagues did a lot of research and studied real situations in real places, from which they drew their conclusions. There's no question in my mind that Le Corbusier was a genius. Read more ›
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69 of 98 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Biggest Oops of Architecture Ever May 6, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I should probably come clean and say I'm not a big fan of Corbu right off. Something about a man who has the pomposity to change his name, and publish a magazine pushing his own ideas, then quote from the same magazine in his own book just irks me a little bit.
But I thought I'd give him a chance, after all, my professors seem to think this Corb guy is important in the history of Architecture. That is- he completely destroyed what many previous writers have defined as architecture. This indeed establishes his importance.
All architectural students should read this book- its very quick and easy. Corb didn't use very complicated language- though he shows some traces of being the father of today's ArchiSpeak gobbledegook when he uses a word like "modalities."
Corb idolizes the Parthenon (rightly so), but twists his love for it to fit his ideas of what 'architecture' is. He has a deep fasciniation with 'pure' forms, and believes that the use of pure forms and geometries will arrive at beauty. In a nice paragraph, he dismisses Gothic architecture as "not very beautiful" because it uses muddled complex forms that don't fit his dictated palette. So in order to consider the Parthenon (which uses subtle complex forms to achieve its beauty) beautiful, he likes to call the columns 'cylinders,' turning a sculpted, crafted element with entasis into one of his 'pure' forms. In actuality, the Parthenon is strongly rooted in artistic sculpural expression and cultural tradition, not an attempt to achieve 'pure' forms as Corb would like to see.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great architect, strange views of society though
I admit, I have not read this entire book, but rather a couple of chapters for a design class I am taking. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Big influence from Le Corbusier
This is a very great book from master Le Corbusier! I highly recommend for this book for any architectural students.
Published 3 months ago by Elemarchy
5.0 out of 5 stars Affordable and in great condition!
Love this book! Inside the mind of a great architect. It was really interesting and different to learn about his philosophy in his own words rather than summarized in lectures and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Julip
4.0 out of 5 stars Interseting architect
I bought this book because I'm an architecture major and like many, we want to know EVERYTHING to EVERY architect haha. Read more
Published 12 months ago by adan
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Exactly what I wanted. It is a great book. A must read for anyone who is interested in architecture or architectural history.
Published 15 months ago by Michael Johnston
4.0 out of 5 stars Good buy for architecture students
This book shows a great perspective about design. Every designer or architect should read it! It's a most have. -
Published 17 months ago by AJ
5.0 out of 5 stars He was one of the best for a reason
Le Corbusier is one of Architecture's famous intellectuals. He is to Architecture what Albert Einstein was to Physics. Highly recommend if your in Arch. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Brian Mccusker
1.0 out of 5 stars This is a photocopy of the book
It's a photocopy, and not a very good one. The images are much less clear than in the normal print version, and the margins are large (which may be good for notes, but these are... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Tim
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad copy
If you're looking for a decent copy of this book, pick a different version. This one (or at least the one I received) was clearly photocopied from the original and then... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Josh
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not Le Corbusier's book.
What imbecile chose to put a photograph of buildings on the cover of this book that would have horrified Le Corbusier, and what imbeciles approved that decision, should be the... Read more
Published on May 4, 2012 by Huddie
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