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Exhibition Focuses on the Works Referred to by Le Corbusier's 1928 Lecture in Madrid
A visitor observes part of the exhibition 'Le Corbusier. Madrid, 1928' that shows the work of Swiss architect during his first visit to Spain at the Residencia de Estudiantes cultural center in Madrid, Spain, on 21 May 2010. EPA/KOTE RODRIGO.

MADRID.- The exhibition focuses on the two lectures which, during his first trip to Spain, in May 1928, Le Corbusier gave at the Residencia de Estudiantes. Taking the title of one of them, ‘Une maison - un palais’, the exhibition revolves around the works referred to in the lecture: Villa Cook, Villa Stein and the two houses in Weissenhof-Siedlung in Stuttgart, represent domestic architecture, while institutional architecture is represented by the Palace of the League of Nations project in Geneva.

The exhibition includes a selection of photographs and original plans of Le Corbusier’s works, projects, paintings and pieces of furniture, dated around the year 1928, as well as a number of photographs, letters and documents which testify to the architect'’s close ties to the Residencia de Estudiantes.

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (1887-1965), better known as Le Corbusier, was a heroic figure from the history of architecture. Considered by many “The Architect” of the 20th century, Le Corbusier has all the features that define Modern architecture.

Le Corbusier visited Spain for the first time in May of 1928. Being a great advertiser of his work, he was invited by the Society of Courses and Conferences- an association created in 1924 with the purpose of allowing the Spanish public to get to know the main figures of the European cultural panorama-to speak at the Residencia de Estudiantes, one of the conferences was titled “Architecture, Furniture and Works of Art” and the other “A House, A Palace”.

Just like his book, Une maison-un palais, whose draft was read during the second conference, this exhibition articulates on a series of works and projects from around those years that show his conception of the architecture of the home, of public institutions and the city. A sequence in different scales that allowed Le Corbusier to understand living not only as a private function, but also public.

The architecture of the house is represented by the Crool House (1926), the Stein-de Monzie Villa (1926-1928) and the two houses at Weissenhof in Stuttgart (1927), three examples that allow to show, how, for Le Corbusier should the problem of the house be confronted: on one side the rational and optimal resolution of technical, functional and economic problems, on the other the architectural answer to how modern man should inhabit the home. For him, the “house-machine” had to be an efficient mechanism in both aspects, and the challenge consisted in making them compatible between them and in giving a satisfactory answer to both without forgetting beauty.

Le Corbusier’s preoccupation with the home took him to think about furniture. From the pages of his book, L’art decorative d’aujourd’hui, published in 1925, he showed his interest on the practical design of office furniture, mass produced objects and the design of cabins in ships, looking in them a way of renovation, in opposition to the decadence of bourgeois furniture. These interests, together with the incorporation of Charlotte Perriand to his studio in 1927, gave way to the creation of a series of chairs such as the Fauteuil à dossier basculant (tilting armchair), the Chaise longue, and the Swivel chair.

The exhibition has been curated by Salvador Guerrero, architect and lecturer in the history of architecture at the University of Alicante.

Organised by the Residencia de Estudiantes, in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing and the Le Corbusier Foundation in Paris. Schedule: from Monday to Saturday, from 11:00 to 15:00 and from 17:00 to 20:00. Sundays and holidays, mornings only.

Madrid | Le Corbusier | Charles-Edouard Jeanneret | Residencia de Estudiantes |

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May 24, 2010

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