In 1955, just as the world was pigeonholing him as the high priest of modernism, Le Corbusier shocked the architecture world withof all thingsweekend houses. Built of brick, concrete, stone, and timber, the Maisons Jaoul are the antithesis of everything commonly referred to as "Corbusian." Their surprising scale gives them a magnificentsculptural presence and the uncharacteristically raw materiality of their exteriorsoozing mortar, rough brickgives them a deliberately crude, almost craftlike, appearance. Le Corbusier himself never explained this radical change in direction, leaving this design a mystery for future generations to decipher.
Le Corbusier and the Maisons Jaoul is the first book-length, detailed examination of these lesser-known, yet architecturally significant houses. Built for Andr Jaoul and his sonand theirwivesthe Maisons Jaoul encompassed four years of intense design activity. Using previously unpublished sources, author Caroline Maniaque Benton thoroughly captures Le Corbusier's extraordinary journey of discovery. Valuable insights are gleaned from conversations between clients, draughtsmen, and craftsmen; firsthand documents; and letters in Le Corbusier's own hand. The Maisons Jaoul emerge as both a fundamental reconsideration of domesticliving and a radical reassessment of Le Corbusier's longstanding commitment to modernism. Opening up his process to collaboration with a Corsican carpenter and a Sardinian mason brought warmth, texture, and a distinct aura of vernacular authenticity to the houses. Le Corbusier and the Maisons Jaoulbrings all of the mythic grandeurof these exciting discoveries to life through rare photographs, drawings, ephemera, and plans, and invites those who either admire or dismiss Le Corbusier to reexamine their assumptions and prejudices about the most famous modern architect of the twentieth century.