Seeing what is not there yet: Le Corbusier and the architectural space of photographs
Le Corbusier (1887-1965) was both a great architect and a graphic designer par excellence. Though he built only 62 buildings, he wrote 56 books, including 8 volumes of his renowned Œuvre Complete, reports on himself that he published every five years beginning in 1929. The Œuvre Complete featured photographs of buildings designed by Le Corbusier. Though Le Corbusier, himself, did not take the photographs, he did select them, crop them, edit them, and place them on the books' pages together with other photographs, text, titles, page numbers, and drawings. Le Corbusier understood that photography, rather than simply picturing an architecture that was, could visualize an architecture that could be. While one purpose of the photograph was to document recently built works, another purpose of the same photograph was to image that which was not there yet. Le Corbusier employed several strategies that evoked new space in the photographs of his completed architecture. This paper describes three: (a) the truncated pyramid point; (b) the 'built-in' physical focal point; and (c) anthropomorphic representation. It shows how images resulting from the application of each of these three strategies became physically available in Le Corbusier's next buildings.
"Seeing What is Not There Yet: Le Corbusier and the Architectural Space of the Photograph," presented at the international symposium, "INTER--Photography and Architecture", at the University of Navarra, Spain, November 2 - 4.