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Le Corbusier and the Concept of Self

Le Corbusier and the Concept of Self

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Book DescriptionIn this strikingly original book, Simon Richards analyzes Le Corbusier's concept of self, reappraises the architect's motives as an urban planner, and arrives at a new understanding of his intellectual relations with other members of the twentieth-century avant garde. Richards shows how Le Corbusier's ideas contradict now dominant ways of thinking about the city, and he focuses attention on the ways the concept of self can influence the shape of the built environment. Although Le Corbusier never explicitly defined his idea of self, Richards finds extensive evidence of it in the urbanist's writings and work. Richards argues that Le Corbusier was indebted to Enlightenment philosopher Blaise Pascal, who believed the individual should withdraw from society and meditate in solitude on the nature of God and self. Le Corbusier's cities were designed accordingly-to separate people in cell-like apartments for the purpose of spiritual self-exploration. Richards explores Le Corbusier's position in twentieth-century intellectual life in the light of this fresh understanding, and he identifies a previously unrecognized alignment between the thought of Le Corbusier and of such figures as Albert Camus and Georges Bataille.