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

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Le Corbusier and the mysterious “résidence du président d’un collège”
Fabio Colonnese

Last modified: 13-11-2015


Abstract: At the very end of his travel to United States, Le Corbusier conceived and designed a modern villa that he lately inserted in the third volume of his Oeuvre Complete with the title ‘Résidence du président d’un college près Chicago’ and few words below describing it. He interpreted a simple request for suggestions by Joseph Brewer, the president of the Olivet College, Michigan, into an actual commission for a new house that responded to the kind of works he expected from his American admirers. He possibly designed it in a few hours’ time from Kalamazoo to Chicago but the autograph hand-drafted plans and bird’s-eye perspective view in the Oeuvre Complete congruently describe a well-thought project showing a number of affinities with his most celebrated European houses. The villa can be considered as an aware modular assemblage of parts that he had previously designed or even built, tied together by a long and suggestive promenade architecturale, to offer the “timid” American people a sort of full scale model to introduce them to his vision of modern life. By analyzing Le Corbusier’s sketches and conjecturing both dimensions and missing elements from previous designs, a threedimensional digital model has been elaborated to virtually visit the résidence and understand its fictive and educational value.


Keywords: Le Corbusier; Joseph Brewer; Olivet College; Promenade architecturale; Intertextuality; Digital Model.


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/LC2015.2015.774

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