Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, LC2015 - Le Corbusier, 50 years later

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La Réaction Poètique of a Prepared Mind
Matthew Mindrup

Last modified: 10-11-2015


Abstract: This paper explores Le Corbusier’s practice of collecting and studying everyday objects as inspiration for new architectural ideas. An avid collector of ‘objets trouves’ that Le Corbusier referred to specifically as ‘objets à réaction poètique,’ he promoted their use claiming they gave direction to an imagination that alone might not be able to detect. Perhaps the most famous object in Le Corbusier’s collection was a crab shell that he used as inspiration for the design of the roof for his Notre-Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp, France. Although Le Corbusier’s use of this shell is well documented in studies on his oeuvre, little attention has been given to the role he intended found objects to play in his design process. In themselves these objects, which have their own identities as shells, pinecones or pieces of bone, they do not immediately lend themselves to any architectural solution. Rather, they are evidence of Le Corbusier’s unique approach to design that relies on a what Louis Pasteur referred to as a ‘prepared mind,’ availed of all relevant data and information pertaining to a task, that can search for solutions in random object or events by spontaneously shift back and forth between analytic and associative modes of thought.


Keywords: Architectural model, Ronchamp, Design method, Imagination, Play, Objet trouve.


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/LC2015.2015.677


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