The narrative of Le Corbusier's relation to Petit Cabanon can be described by comparing it to his works and experiences before, during, and after. From 1917  until his death, Le Corbusier's primary residence was his Paris apartment. In comparison to Le Cabanon, the apartment had a much greater quantity of living space. 

Petit Maison is similar to Petit Cabanon in that both buildings were designed for Le Corbusier's personal use. Petit Maison was constructed as a home for his parents while Petit Cabanon was for his wife and vacations. It contains a similar focus on creating stunning views and a smaller scale of living. It is also subject to Corbusier's love of the sea as it is located on the shoreline of Lake Geneva. 

The Weekend House is another example of a vacation home designed by Le Corbusier. It too embraces nature in its design as the house is partially absorbed by the landscape. More importantly, Weekend House introduces a new aesthetic to Corbusier's work. The house sheds the white polish of his villas in favour of rough and natural finishes.

                                                                              Weekend House                                                          Petit Maison

In his travels, Le Corbusier was exposed to a great deal of single room living. He was inspired by single room living during his travels to the Americas and around Europe. His homes while travelling were single room cabins aboard the SS Normandie as well as the German Graf Zeppelin.  

Through the process of creating Petit Cabanon, Le Corbusier developed Le Modulor. As a result, Le Modulor was applied in his Cabanon as a method of streamlining the design and to assist in the creation of a simple and clean dwelling. Le Modulor defines the dimensions, the program and also the circulation within the cabanon. Unite d'Habitation in Marseille was also an ongoing project during the same period. Designed in 1946, the Unite d'Habitation was the first project in which Le Modulor was ever applied. The concept of cells and single room living is crucial to the creation of a community in this project. The influence of experiences such as traveling on the Normandie are evident in this design (see image above and below). 


The modulor cell living of Unite d'Habitation expanded far beyond the first project with a total of five projects across Europe.

After the completion of Petit Cabanon, there is a change in the physical appearance of Le Corbusier's buildings from a clean, rectilinear aesthetic to a more rugged, organic feel. This new ascetic can be seen in the Monastery of La Tourette where the clean finish of an earlier project such as Villa Savoye is replaced by exposed concrete with formwork unapologetically left behind. This project also exemplifies the use of cells and single room living. 


Beyond La Tourette and the Unites, the development in style that surrounded le Petit Cabanon is evident in some of Corbusier's biggest projects such as the new city of Chandigarh. The importance of le Cabanon grows exponentially when it is placed in the context of his career, because its importance as part of a transition far exceeds its individual significance. 

Posted by: Meghan Robidoux
Edited by: Jason McMillan

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