5 Points of Architecture

Le Corbusier, the great Swiss-French Modern architect, in his book Vers Une Architecture (Towards An Architecture), proposed 5 points for a new architecture.  His 5 points were:

  • pilotis – lifting the building up off the ground on columns
  • free facade – separating the exterior walls of the building from the structure of the building
  • open floor plan – an open plan, without walls between the major rooms
  • ribbon windows – windows that stretched the full width of the facade opening up the building to light and views
  • roof garden – providing private exterior space on the roof

4 of Le Corbusier’s 5 points can be seen in this photo: pilotis, free facade, ribbon window and roof deck.

These points established the working ideas that provided the foundation for his designs for much of his career.  They are famously illustrated in his first master work, the Villa Savoye, built outside of Paris.

Le Corbusier’s 5 points served him well.  They are not so useful for an architect whose practice is based mostly on modifying existing construction: remodeling, additions, fitting out shells with new interiors.  My interests in architecture are also different.

I want to bring meaning to architecture.  While Le Corbusier did bring meaning to architecture, based on exploiting the images of the, for him, new machine age, I chose to base my language of architecture on human experience and lives, materials and construction.

Years ago, I established my own 5 Points of Architecture.  My 5 points are:

habitation – architecture is for people, the joyous and commodious accommodation of human life

construction – exploit the expressive potential of construction

change – accommodate change; build for change

autonomy – harness the inherent complexities to enliven and enrich buildings by assembling autonomous parts

light – build to exploit light

In the next 5 posts, I will discuss and illustrate each of my 5 points of architecture in more depth.  I strive to apply my 5 points to every project I undertake.

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