Archithinking… something different…something old and something new…

I love architecture and probably if I did not suck so bad at math, calculations, and drawing…I would have loved to be an architect- even though it is a very competitive and difficult job – so I would probably be delivering cardboard for a living by now… but I would have liked it…

Maybe it would have been cool to be someone like Le Corbusier or Frank Lloyd Wright…in the golden years of architectural thinking and invention…for those who are not familiar with them here is Architect from the past ONE ON ONE:

Le Corbusier

LONG STORY SHORT – Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris AKA Le Corbusier, swiss born architect and worked between the 30s throughout the 60s, mainly in France (Paris). He was the pioneer of  “modern architecture”… crazy ideas…radical concepts and a mind able to rethink urbanism and modern living spaces…he builds some pretty cool buildings…

His main idea in 5 words = 5 points of architecture

1. NO WALLS – as we know them. He was a believer in the power and use of CONCRETE (cheap and long lasting). So we use concrete for building columns and pillars that lift a building above ground and/or water…elevating the living space and gaining more space under it…e.g. for gardens. The fancy word for this is Pilotis. 

2. NO ROOF – as we know it or better said as they knew it back then… traditional roof… the new “then” FLAT roof can be utilized for a domestic purpose and there you have  ROOF GARDENS.

3. Don’t be a façade – because we have no walls you can live in a fish tank – all windows everywhere and bathed in light in the entire home so there is a need to find how functional the façade of your home can be.

4. Last = USE YOUR LIGHT- placing windows everywhere allows rooms to be lit equally and functionally.

5. Be CREATIVE with what a house is for – NO design plans for areas – so rethink the spaces since the house is supported by pillars walls can be placed anywhere to create your wished layout.


He made this 5 points real in the famous home called “La Villa Savoye


I like “modern architecture and this seem very cool and then “innovative use of space” …this was build between 1928 and 1931.

A couple, The Savoye, requested this house and Le Corbusier build it.

Costs budgeted = half a million french francs
Real costs (as usual they were generous with the pricing then) = approximately 800.000 Francs

The Savoyes lived in the house until 1940. The house was occupied by Germans during WWII and used for storage and then later occupied by the Americans, little they knew they were using a historical building with concepts never used before in urbanistic, but then again WAR is WAR and who cares!!?? So the house was extremely damaged. The sad but true story of this little conceptual building.


After the War – The Savoyes returned and then abandoned the house.

So…Did this concept of living space work?

NO, it did not…


The little tiny fact about CONCRETE is that it decays very rapidly and it costs to maintain it even if it should be cheap to build it… so…

It had to be repaired and FRANCE registered it as a historical monument in 1965, in the late 80s and late 90s it was repaired and now you can visit it and admire it in all its supposed to be GLORY of when it was brand new.

Le Corbusier did not give up and build other interesting things like a monastery called La Tourette in 1959 close to Lyon. And it has nothing to do with the La Tourette Syndrome :-)…sounds like it and even if decay is quite evident here today…it is his way of harmonizing light with roughness and think spaces for their purposes.

He applied his 5 points in that one too and as he said himself he made a building “to give the monks what men today need most: silence and peace… This Monastery does not show off; it is on the inside that it lives.”


Union of sacred and profane at its peak.

Of course, concrete is the hero, here and everywhere else in his work, Use of light and spaces like ramps with glass walls so you use the daylight as much as possible and the introduction of colors and light effects.


This place is peaceful and fulfills its purpose:

There are much more examples of what he could do but this 2 are the ones I like the most.

A concept totally coucou aka “way out there” he had for the reconstructions of Paris.

Again…long story short…

Le Corbusier was concerned with human relation and the pressing issue in Paris for the need of new living spaces – cheap and functional.

His answer was to propose a radical “vertical garden city”. Of course…the dude was obsessed with gardens…

This project would have given houses to three million inhabitants. – LA VILLE CONTEMPORAINE…or Voisin Plan


Idea = sixty-story cruciform skyscrapers built on steel frames and encased in curtain walls of glass set within large, rectangular park-like green spaces.

Purpose = apartments + offices

Functionality = 1.  living in the light – every apartment would have maximum exposure to daylight and the sunlight would be on each side of the building

1.  living in the light – every apartment would have maximum exposure to daylight and the sunlight would be on each side of the building

2.  no alienation = socializing and living in harmony. the middle of the building would be the utility and common space (elevators- stairs – corridors…)

A modern concept of living


Could this work??

Probably not…the common / utility spaces would be dark – no sunlight – so major decay and unhealthy environment due to lack of natural light.

Outside… the concept of giving separation between car/ walk/ living space would be difficult to carry on throughout the years…

Nice idea but it was never built.

Some call Le Corbusier’s ideas…Antisocial Urbanism…I just like it and again my ignorance and lack of know how… the fact is that he did what others did not do and could do…

Another crazy person about home = concepts= living differently was Frank Lloyd Wright.

One on One – Frankie believed that ARCHITECTURE and NATURE should walk hand in hand and building did not mean destroy nature but build around it…

who does not know or have seen his Fallingwater House ????


The house is built on the waterfall…no functional, not easy to maintain throughout the years because of long-term humidity damages and costly to maintain.

Still a great idea to live within your surroundings.

Idea picked up by many. Nowadays, it’s something we are going back to and trying to do…well…our Frankie had the idea already long before us.

Another one of these incredible guys and masters of architecture is  Mies van der Rohe and his Farnsworth House.

Live with light, maximum light.

Farnsworth House 1


As they called it CHASING THE LIGHT.

Walls only where privacy is needed like the bathroom; for the rest usage of natural light from all corners of the house.Lots of glass…

Then again too bad it was built where a horrible flood (Fox River flood water) almost destroyed it.

CONCLUSION…we know what how to build but not where and why and long-term vision is an option…how brilliant is it to be human and fuck it up like that??!!

Still, try until you die and imagination has no limits…my perfect house is made of crystal and you can throw all the stone you want to it 🙂

Fox River flood Farnsworth House.


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