Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Radiant City

Amidst this ghastly Orwellian dream (I mean as much 'Down and Out in Paris and London' as '1984') I sat down today with my books and shut the door. It so happened I could hear some argument next door, so it was good I could shut that door, that elemental piece of space management, and keep the world out. Then I went page by page through L-C's not so small opus, The Radiant City, and began to smile, and then to laugh out loud (the argument next door was getting more heated) as I realised I was holding one of the funniest, most pertinent and most brilliant books on architecture I have yet come across. Nietzsche for architects, that's Le Corbusier all right, and I was suddenly thankful for all those years (35 in professional training) I had yet to get it, and for this moment when I finally did. It's fair to say I felt an overwhelming sense of being in the same room with the great man (and of the necessity to keep all the crap out!) Then I read the page when Le Corbusier himself talks about the necessity of shutting the door and sitting by himself and I really wondered whether I might be going a bit mad. And then, still poleaxed by serendipity, I pondered a little sketch of a house, not much more than a cabin, which was exactly the same as the little drawing of a house on stilts I have been planning in my notebook and I thought, bloody hell I'm back in 1932! Not much you can do after all that but go to the pub.
Read this marvelous book and perhaps something good will happen to you too.

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