The mythology of modernism: Man walks in a straight line because he has a goal and knows where he is going; he has made up his mind to reach some particular place and he goes straight to it. The pack-donkey meanders along, meditates a little in his scatter-brained and distracted fashion, he zigzags in order to avoid the larger stones, or to ease the climb, or to gain a little shade; he takes the line of least resistance. But man governs his feelings by his reason; he keeps his feelings and his instincts in check, subordinating them to the aim he has in view. He rules the brute creation by intelligence. His intelligence formulates laws which are the product of experience. His experience is born of work; man works in order that he may not perish. In order that production may be possible, a line of conduct is essential, the laws of experience must be obeyed. Man must consider the result in advance. The “New style”, did it serve the real or idealise the hyperreal? The Modernists proclaimed that it was time to clean up architecture and renounce the ornament of the past. Buildings were to be functional and decoration made obsolete. But in a world that is not ordered in a Cartesian way the ideas of timelessness, functionality and rational caused the modern aesthetic to slip into the world of the hyperreal. In this essay I want to look at the causality of modernism, I would like to show how Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer approached the study into the state and deconstruction of architecture. I find it particularly interesting to compare architects that have such differing views but worked in relatively similar periods of time. It is no coincidence that the major modernists were men; each utopian vision became an imperialist campaign, to impose their tastes onto the world. They proclaimed to have found a fundamental enlightenment that would be universally embraced by all progressive societies. I want talk in detail about the contemporary city and Le Corbusier's idealisation of the grid (see fig1) and also to contrast this, with his methods of deconstructing different forms of architecture. In short, how he sort to tidy up architecture and define his style. An ideology in which architecture sets out to reconstruct a living module or a way of living seems archaic. Le Corbusier sort to order society, to predict cultural ideals and imprint efficacy. The passage above highlights a disillusionists view of how individuals function. This ideal that Le Corbusier argues for is in a sense dishonest to the real. What about ambiguity and contingency, what about randomness and uncertainty? “We hated Bauhaus. It was a bad time in architecture. They just didn’t have any talent. All they had were rules. Even for knives and forks they created rules. Picasso would never have accepted rules. The house is like a ma-chine? No! The mechanical is ugly. The rule is the worst thing. You just want to break it.” ~Oscar Niemeyer Rather than copy the international style that had come from modernism, Oscar Niemeyer sort to introduce different styles to modernism such as baroque. This created a neobaroque modernist style that can be seen in his work. I Want to look at how he sort to validate this type of architure by cross-referencing his style with images that influanced and depicted Corbusier’s.
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