Monday, September 26, 2005

The International Style vs. M

Paul Howard

The International Style vs. Organicism
(The Villa Savoye and Lovell House)
One of the most famous houses of the International Style is the Villa Savoye. It is perhaps the best example of LeCorbusier's goal to create a house which would be a "machine a habiter," a machine for living. Located near Paris, the house is as beautiful and functional as a machine. The Villa Savoye was the basis for much of LeCorbusier's later architecture. Although it looks severe in photographs, it is complex and looks different from every angle.
The design features of the Villa Savoye include:
modular design -- the result of Corbu's researches into mathematics, architecture, and human proportion
"pilotis" -- the house is raised on stilts to separate it from the earth, and to use the land efficiently.
abstract sculptural design
pure color -- white on the outside, a color with associations of newness, purity, and simplicity
a very open interior plan
dynamic , non-traditional transitions between floors -- spiral staircases and ramps
built-in furniture
ribbon windows (echoing industrial architecture, but also providing openness and light)
roof garden, with both plantings and architectural (sculptural) shapes

William Curtis, Le Corbusier: Ideas and Forms, 1986
The International Style, Johnson and Hitchcock, Dover, 1946
Towards A New Architecture, Le Corbusier, Dover, 1917

The Lovell house was a large modernist style house designed and built by Richard Neutra in 1929 on a site in Los Angeles, California for Philip Lovell.
It was the first steel frame house in the United States and also made extensive use of concrete. Neutra was his own contractor for the project and he exploited the steep hillside site fully by spreading out the house and making terraced gardens overflowing with greenery. More than any other of his other creations of domestic architecture, Lovell house showed off his mastery of landscaping. The interior was both beautiful and cozy.
The design features of the Lovell Health House:
Non-modular design- the result of the steep hillside. Which Allowed Neutra to spread out his design using tension cables, steel columns, sprayed concrete w/ steel casement windows.
The house is made into the hillside, letting it become part of the landscape.
Pure color—white on the outside, a color with associations of newness, purity, and simplicity
Built-in furniture
Traditional transitions between floors—staircases
Linear design with wide open stair wells.
Garden, with both planting and architectural shapes.
Ribbon windows (echoing industrial architecture, but also providing openness and light.

Modern Architecture since 1900, W. Curtis, Prentiss Hall, 1996
Neutra, Richard Joseph, Life and shape, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1962