Le Corbusier and Loos

Stanislaus von Moos 

Despite the Esprit Nouveau’s enthusiasm for Loos’s ideas, in fact Le Corbusier and the Viennese master would in time grow apart. Their initial coincidence arose from their mutual distaste toward the Jugendstil. But their disagreements were centered on their very conception of architecture; while Loos maintained it fell ouside the realm of art, Le Corbusier held exactly the opposite idea. In his article, Stanislaus Von Moos establishes the distance between the two men by situating each one in relation to the keynotes of contemporary architecture.

The Esprit Nouveau, reduced to its most elemental structure, could be seen as an attempt to initiate the French industrial elite into the logic of its own feverish labor by promoting the idea that «artistic design» was not at all necessary for its products. The way in which this could be understood (without referring here to the political implications of this ideology for the artistic avant garde was expressed by Le Corbusier in his aticle entitled «Pédagogie» published in Esprit Nouveau number 19 in December 1923, a clear criticism of Bauhaus echoing the Bauhaus Week in Weimar of a few weeks earlier. In the article, Le Corbusier formulated a sort of Law of Evolution regarding industrial models by oulining the development of models (standards) in the world of consumer goods as a process whose premise is competition and private initiative within the framework of the production system, just as in nature (according to Darwin) there is a selection of the fittest through the struggle for survival. He then describes what he considers to be the «nature» of industrial labor: ...[+]

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