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Le Corbusier

The City of Refuge, Paris 1929/33

The City of Refuge complex—commissioned by the Salvation Army as part of its program to transform social outcasts into spiritually renewed workers—represents a significant confluence of design principles, technological experiments, and attitudes on reform. It also provides rare insights into the work of one of the twentieth century’s greatest architects, Le Corbusier.

Brian Brace Taylor draws on extensive archival research to reconstruct each step of the architect’s attraction to the commission, his design process and technological innovations, the social and philosophical compatibility of the Salvation Army with Le Corbusier’s own ideas for urban planning, and finally, the many modifications required, first to eliminate defects and later to accommodate changes in the services the building provided. Throughout, Taylor focuses on Le Corbusier’s environmental, technological, and social intentions as opposed to his strictly formal intentions. He shows that the City of Refuge became primarily a laboratory for the architect’s own research and not simply a conventional solution to residents’ requirements or the Salvation Army’s program.

200 pages | 149 halftones, 32 line drawings | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1987

Architecture: European Architecture

Table of Contents

Introduction by Kenneth Frampton
1. A Sacred Asylum
The "Grand Scheme" of General Booth
The Salvation Army in France
Ideological Sympathies between Le Corbusier and the Salvation Army
2. The Project and its Variations
Typological Precedents
Finances and the Choice of an Architect
Conception of the Project
Design Phases
The Four Preliminary Projects
Definitive Proposal
Alterations Due to Regulations
3. A "Progressive" Building Site?
The Structure of the Cité
The Curtain-Wall
Glass Bricks
Ceramic Tiles
Thermal Insulation
Bidding by Contractors
Rationalization of the Building Site
Heating and Ventilation Systems
Modifications of the Crèche
Surcharges and Architecs’ Responsibilities
4. The Controversy
A Question of "Exact Breathing"
Additional Defects
Modifications after World War II
A Problematic Restoration
5. Conclusion
The Cité de Refuge as Instrument for Social Control
Ideology and Reality of Rationalized Production

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