case study: Le Corbusier's Five Points of Architecture

I have been looking a lot into different architectural theorists through out this project that have shaped the way not only Im designing, but the way architecture is understood now.

Out of these theorists, Le Corbusier is one that has been a big connection for me. He is the pioneer behind the five points of architecture.

  • Pilotis – Replacement of supporting walls by a grid of reinforced concrete columns that bears the structural load is the basis of the new aesthetic.

  • The free designing of the ground plan—the absence of supporting walls—means the house is unrestrained in its internal use.

  • The free design of the façade—separating the exterior of the building from its structural function—sets the façade free from structural constraints.

  • Ribbon Window

  • Roof gardens on a flat roof can serve a domestic purpose while providing essential protection to the concrete roof

Le Corbusier's show cases these points in his Villa Savoye (1929–1931) that most succinctly summed up his five points of architecture that he had elucidated in the journal L'Esprit Nouveau and his book Vers une architecture, which he had been developing throughout the 1920s. First, Le Corbusier lifted the bulk of the structure off the ground, supporting it by pilotis – reinforced concrete stilts. These pilotis, in providing the structural support for the house, allowed him to elucidate his next two points: a free façade, meaning non-supporting walls that could be designed as the architect wished, and an open floor plan, meaning that the floor space was free to configure into rooms without concern for supporting walls. The second floor of the Villa Savoye includes long strips of ribbon windows that allow unencumbered views of the large surrounding yard, and constitute the fourth point of his system. This is a strength to enjoy panoramic scenery while complementing the climatic weakness of Western Europe, which lacked sunshine. The fifth point was the roof garden to compensate for the green area consumed by the building and replacing it on the roof. A ramp rising from ground level to the third floor roof terrace allows for an architectural promenade through the structure. The white tubular railing recalls the industrial "ocean-liner" aesthetic that Le Corbusier much admired. The driveway around the ground floor, with its semicircular path, measures the exact turning radius of a 1927 Citroën automobile.

From my point of view these kinds of structure can be directly compared to my design. The open plans views free of walls and load bearing points due to the structural nature of the carpark connects this directly.