Formulas for Collective Living

La maison des hommes and La misére des villes

Reyner Banham 

Although the Modern Movement as a whole was determined to meet the challenge of overcoming sub-standard human housing, Le Corbusier’s contribution to this effort stands out alone. Reyner Banham, while noting the points shared by all 20th-century urban reformers, emphasizes the ideological undertones reflected in the various collective housing proposals put forth by Le Corbusier in his later years. «Architecture or revolution» is the axiom that ties his analysis together. 

By 1926 Le Corbusier had become enough of a public figure —at least in the little world of architecture— to be interviewed about his views on the future of housing for the magazine La Construction Moderne. Just how he had arrived at this modest eminence with so little built that could normally be classified as «housing» other than the Grugés scheme at Pessac must be a confused and confusing story, but the very confusions and contradictions of his career and published ideas may have helped, not hindered, his rise to prominence...[+]

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