Leon Krier always has an interesting point or two to make with regards to Le Corbusier, most likely due to Corb’s immense power over Krier’s earliest work and schooling. In many ways, Krier’s career can be seen as one long extended dialogue with (and often against) the Modernist figurehead. As part of that, Krier has recently talked about a resurgence of those five points against which Corb wrote his – and argued that these five points ought to form the core of a vernacular traditionalism, much in the same way Corb’s have loomed over the moderns.
So I figured I’d take a synthetic middle ground. What happens if we take Corb’s five points and dress them up in traditional garb. What then? Piloti are given bases and capitals (and become columns); picture windows are gathered into long fenetre en longueur; the plan is libre (free of rooms en filade); the roof is flattened to host a garden; and the only point I’m probably missing is the free facade. O well, better luck next time. . .
The story of where these ideas come from is a hodgepodge, so let’s just talk about what this is: a circular atrium in the middle of a nine-square plan demarcated with Corbusian piloti-cum-columns, with its four corners filled with circles: two circles are set up as objects, while two others are strung together with a larger radius. All of this sits below a blank square volume, continuing the allusion to Villa Savoy, with a strong gable at the roof line.
Today’s piece stems from an industrial building I passed by at Los Angeles’ wastewater treatment plant. The original was a blue corrugated steel box on diagonally braced stilts, with triangular recesses and frames above second story doors. I have no idea what this is used for. None. But The deliberateness of the design was evident, as the entire plant had been drawn up by Anthony Lumsden, a techno-postmodernist. So I clad it in shingles, inspired by some triangular dormers by Ike Kligerman Barkley, and set it on a chunky Tuscan colonnade (a la Graves), and called it ‘house’.