Monday, May 22, 2006

The Architect and his Automobile

Le Corbusier was a consummate artist and designer. His theories in design, arts, painting and of course, architecture are extraordinary. As an architect, he is up to now, regarded as the great titan of modern architecture. His principle of “machine for living” embodies the model of efficiency in form and function. An in-depth look at “Villa Savoye” certainly convinces you of his genius. Admittedly, his work inspires me as an architect, and his rationalization of design elements consciously guides me in many creative endeavors.

This famous architect believed that the automobile was an important element, and thus inspired his concepts and designs. He went even further in conceiving a vehicle of stunning simplicity yet with revolutionary features, ahead of its time. The year was 1928, when the design of “Voiture Maximum” came into being and subsequently presented in the 1930’s for a world fair.

In 1932, Adolf Hitler has also longed for a simple vehicle for his people and started toying with the idea of a mass production car. At this time he sketched a design on a napkin and later commissioned Dr. Porsche to develop what would later be the VW Beetle. It would be fascinating to note, Hitler also in his early adulthood longed to study architecture.
At the same time, Pierre Boulanger started to develop an “umbrella on wheels” with Citroen for the masses. Boulanger is an architect and was the man in charged of the French automaker at that time. This concept brought about the Citroen 2CV.

These two vehicles have striking resemblance to the 1928 Voiture Maximum. There are theories on the possibility of these two influential figures taking a not-so-casual interest on Le Corbusier’s work. Who influence who? Your guess is as good as mine!

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