Journal or Book Title
Proceedings of the 2013 ARCC Spring Research Conference, Architectural Research Centers Consortium, The Visibility of Research
ARCC 2013 Architectural Research Conference
March 27–30, 2013
Charlotte, NC, United States
Le Corbusier aligned science with Modern movement architecture. At the opening of the Pavillon Suisse in 1933, he was directed by the Pavillon’s president to ‘cover up’ the exposed stone wall in the building’s lounge-dining room. Opposed to the decorative arts, Le Corbusier conceived of a photomural comprised of highly scientific, dramatically enlarged ‘new vision’ views of nature, artistically composed and integrated into the building. The mural imaged science and high technology, metaphorically aligning both with the new architecture. The provincial press understood the mural as propaganda exuding the virtues of high materialism. André Breton praised the mural as an example of ‘concrete irrationality’ that set the ‘object in crisis’. Like beauty, Le Corbusier’s picture of science resided, it seemed, in the eye of the beholder. This paper proceeds by interpreting Le Corbusier’s early works as ‘exhibition’, underscoring notions of propaganda and mobility in Modern movement architecture, and then details the demand for the Pavillion Suisse photomural, its make-up, and the assessment of the mural by the press and by artists. It attempts to illuminate one way of making science visible while underscoring the ambiguity of visual imagery in an age when science carried great authority.
Naegele, Daniel J., "Making Science Seen: Le Corbusier's Photomural at the Pavillon Suisse" (2013). Architecture Conference Proceedings and Presentations. 67.