“A house is a machine for living in.” So declared Le Corbusier in his revolutionary 1923 book Towards a New Architecture, thereby providing the burgeoning modern movement with one of its most famous maxims. Yet this pronouncement was as enigmatic as it was aphoristic, ripe for misinterpretation. Corbusier’s text was lavishly illustrated with images of automobiles, airplanes, and ocean liners, and in this context it was easy to understand his statement as a call for buildings to share the same sleek look that made such industrial technology so visually arresting. Indeed, the house to which Corbusier most directly applied this principle, the Villa Savoye (1931), eventually became one of the most iconic works of twentieth-century architecture and played a significant role in defining the visual language of modernism, figuring prominently, for example, in the definition of both
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.