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Le Corbusier’s quotes on brise soleil in London contemporary architecture

Design and photography by Clodia Susan Tonso Quotes by Le Corbusier Set in Helvetica Neue regular and Salome regular Printed in LCC on Munken Polar Rough 120 gsm PG Cert 2016 London College of Communication

04 intro 06 brise soleil 08 sun and poems

10 horizontal lines 20 vertical lines

04 05 Brise soleil is a French word that meaning literally ‘it breaks the sun’, specifically it is an architectural feature of a building that reduces heat gain by deflecting sunlight. It can comprise a variety of permanent sun shading structures, and in the typical form the horizontal projection extends from the sunside facade of a building. This is most commonly used to prevent facades with a large amount of glass from overheating during the summer. Often louvers are incorporated into the shade to prevent the high-angle summer sun falling on the facade, but also to allow the low-angle winter sun to provide passive solar heating.

Horizontal fixtures work best on southern facades, while vertical fixtures mitigate the sun more effectively on east and west facades, due to the sun’s angle in the sky throughout the day. The aim of this pubblication is the research of the use of brise soleil in some of the contemporary architectures in the City and Southwark. The two zones are indicated by the postal code of the building next to each picture, where Southwark is SE and the City is EC.


Quotes on the sun and brise soleil are from Le Corbusier’s works and thoughts.

06 07 Many traditional methods exist for reducing the effects of the sun’s glare, such as lattices, pierced screens as used at the Taj Mahal, or blinds of split bamboo as used in Japan (sudare), shades used outside the windows that are similar in effect to venetian blinds. In 1933 Le Corbusier developed horizontal, movable shutters in a house in Barcelona, and designed a block of flats in Algiers with glass walls on the north and east sides, and brises soleils on the south and west elevations.

In 1935, he worked as consultant architect for the Ministry of Health and Education in Rio de Janeiro. The result was an office building with gear operated adjustable horizontal baffles on the north (sun-facing) elevation.


This was the first time he gave this treatment to an office building, perhaps as a result of his observations of the conditions suffered by the office workers in New York, due to the lack of protection from direct sunlight.

Le Corbusier once stated that his buildings first became possible on the basis of his artistic work.

This is his most lucid synthesis of personal maxims, composed from 1947 to 1953. The works have been arranged in such a way that seven rows, one upon the other, result in a picture wall, an iconostasis. Each row is dedicated to a specific topic, from the environment, mental and physical elements to the right angle, with which human beings establish their own order.


He worked to understand the rhythms of the sun in both poetic and scientific terms, in Le Poeme de l’Angle Droit, The Poem of the Right Angle, a series of lithographs and corresponding poems that can be regarded as an artistic realization of his worldview.



During these past few years, I have reworked the design of the crossplan skyscraper and evolved a more living form with the same static safety margin:






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Le Corbusier, from a footnote in the Antwerp Plan


There are no longer any offices facing north. And this new form is infinitely more full of life.

The two rhythms which regulate our destiny:

18 19


A sun rises A sun sets A sun rises again Le Corbusier, from Le Poeme de l’Angle Droit




To introduce the sun is the new and most imperative duty of the architect.

Le Corbusier, from The Athens Charter

24 25


The clock and the solar calendar brought to architecture the brise soleil to be installed in front of the windows of modern buildings.


Le Corbusier, from Le Poeme de l’Angle Droit

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