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

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All of Paris, Darkly: Le Corbusier’s Beistegui Apartment, 1929-1931
Ross James Anderson

Last modified: 23-11-2015

Abstract


Abstract: This paper, All of Paris, Darkly, presents a focused study of Le Corbusier’s enigmatic Beistegui Apartment (1929- 1931) on the Champs-Elysée in Paris, with particular reference to the curious camera obscura periscope that was housed in a small lozenge-shaped pavilion on its rooftop. There are manifold reasons for the charisma of the apartment; from the flamboyant eccentricities of the client and his exchanges with the architect, to the exceptional location of apartment in the centre of Paris, to the apparent repudiation of some of Le Corbusier’s more strident proclamations on architecture and the city, to the historical conditions that have for all time occluded a definitive scholarly reading of the architectural production and subsequent inhabitation of the apartment. Grounded in an understanding of the primal visual phenomenon of the camera obscura, the paper advances an interpretation of the meaning of the periscope apparatus amidst the battery of unusual contrivances that animated the surrealist penthouse apartment. It further seeks to contribute to a greater understanding of some aspects of Le Corbusier’s thinking on architecture and the city.

 

Keywords: Le Corbusier; Charles de Beistegui; camera obscura; uncanny; Surrealism.

 

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/LC2015.2015.928


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