The peculiar feature of many of Le Corbusier’s works is an unusual choice of colors: he explains such attention to colors as the last attempt to correct all those errors and shortages of proportions, which could spoil the work, to underline the uniqueness of the buildings, and to accentuate the architecture of facades; and Luis Barragan admits that architecture, as well as human beings, have to change, this is why he supports the idea to change the colors of his buildings in accordance with time and its demands.
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Architecture is one of the most fascinating and difficult types of art because it usually touches upon numerous spheres of life like politics, economics, and sociology and also takes into consideration numerous psychological and philosophical aspects. Le Corbusier was one of the brightest figures in Swiss architecture at the beginning of the 20th century, and even after his death, his works have an unbelievable influence on many architects and their perception of this world while creating one more work of art. Luis Barragan was a Mexican known architect, who underwent Le Corbusier’s influence and created not less interesting works. The works of these two great architects are distinguished among the others due to their attention to each detail in their works, landscape, pilotis, facades, and choices of colors. The peculiar feature of many of Le Corbusier’s works is an unusual choice of colors: he explains such attention to colors as the last attempt to correct all those errors and shortages of proportions, which could spoil the work, to underline the uniqueness of the buildings, and to accentuate the architecture of facades; and Luis Barragan admits that architecture, as well as human beings, have to change, this is why he supports the idea to change the colors of his buildings in accordance with time and its demands.
Birth, life, and death as a ground for one more work of art. The things, which distinguished Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris from other people, pursued him from his childhood. Even his origins could not be identified properly. He was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds Switzerland and spent more than 30 years there. In his 30s, Le Corbusier moved to France and spent the rest of his life in this country, creating his famous works and amazing people with his ability to notice details in ordinary things from everyday life. His education and the people, who were around, had a considerable impact on Le Corbusier’s passion for architecture: the activities of one local teacher encouraged future Le Corbusier to study architecture independently and achieve great success in this sphere. Another thing that makes him different in comparison to other painters and architects is his name, to be more exact, his pseudonym. His true name, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, is not known to everyone; however, when the name Le Corbusier is pronounced, it turns out to be clear that the great architect is mentioned. This person believed that anyone had the chance to reinvent oneself, and in 1920, Charles took one of the most serious steps, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris was wiped out, and Le Corbusier was born (Baltanas 6).
Le Corbusier’s choice of colors. One of the most significant issues in the works by Le Corbusier is “synthesis”, the unity of numerous arts and products of the current time and the reality, he lived in (Moos 279). Le Corbusier presented a really unusual symbolical manner of color’s use that was able to influence human mood and behavior and diminish the undesirable presence of certain architectural elements. The analysis of Le Corbusier’s works like Villa Jeanneret-Perret, Villa Savoye, and the Carpenter Centre for the Visual Art, the only project by Le Corbusier in the United States of America, demonstrates how caring and attentive the architect’s attitude to his own works can be. As Amedee Ozenfant admits each color has its own effect and purpose in architecture, and even more, many effects happen on the psychological level (Braham 5). Le Corbusier as well as Ozenfant agreed that colors were the final dressing of a building that can easily hide a particular disadvantage and add more mystery. For Le Corbusier, there were two colors, which played the most considerable roles in his works, blue and green. The preference for such colors has a very simple explanation, presented by Le Corbusier: green is the symbol of nature, and blue is the symbol of a woman in nature. He was the architect, who demonstrated his devotion to naturalistic colors. Only these colors could provide an architect with a chance to find out more space and introduce a new vision of the same things to the world.
Le Corbusier could not imagine his life without nature and women, this is why he tried to add some green and blue elements to each of his works. In psychology, the issue of sublimation is regarded as a spirit that reflects human libido. This very issue may be partially connected to the works of Le Corbusier and may explain such a specific choice of colors. First of all, it is necessary to admit that Le Corbusier was not deprived of an opportunity to communicate with women and to have constant sexual relations; however, his specific relations with his mother and care of his wife made him pay more attention to the role of women in this world and to remind everyone what considerable part women take in this world and in men’s lives in particular.
Another psychological perspective proves that a person is always eager to use some means or object in order to strengthen their own positions. Le Corbusier was not an exception, and use colors as a powerful means in order to emphasize the architectural characters, he created. For example, proper use of colors could easily strengthen relief or facade. Even more, he, as a professional architect, who was always ready to experiment and improve his own style, made use of colors and correct all those errors, which could visually spoil his buildings. And he, as it is inherent to any living being, used one factor to hide the disadvantages or shortages of the other one.
Luis Barragan was a successful student and follower of Le Corbusier. Luis Barragan was a prominent Mexican architect of the 20th century. In spite of the fact that this landscape architect was born far from Switzerland, where Le Corbusier was brought up, the works by Luis Barragan have much in common with the works of Le Corbusier, and the color schemes of these architects are one of those things, which unite them. Barragan as well as Le Corbusier was a self-taught architect, this is why he was under an influence of numerous works and styles of different architects. One of those architects as Le Corbusier. During his trip to Europe, Barragan got a wonderful chance to listen to the lectures by Le Corbusier and touch many helpful things to use in his own creations (Martinez 123). The naturalistic approaches of Le Corbusier influenced considerably Barragan’s perception of this world and the essence of their own works. From that period of time, he did not want to create houses just for living. He wanted to achieve something more and paid more attention to the colors in order to add emotions to his buildings.
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Use of colors as a powerful means to demonstrate personal changes. Naturalistic use of colors, natural material, and light that is also regarded as natural– all this demonstrates a wonderful picture of the architect’s breakthrough under the influence of sophisticated people. From that period of time, “no bright colors in the architecture, just shades of gray, which sustained a calm which is difficult to describe” were changed into colorful landscapes and buildings. The distinguishing feature of Luis Barragan’s style is his attitude to personal works and their colors. First of all, he used different natural colors within one building in order to represent the varieties of human nature and preferences to different moods. Even more, Barragan was one of those architects, who wanted to be always popular and modern and agreed to change the colors of his buildings in accordance with the current time and conditions. His major principle was that people get a wonderful chance to develop and change, this is why buildings have to get the same chance and be able to change colors or space if it is necessary. From the psychological perspective, such variation of colors and the ability to change it anytime proves his desire to be interesting to many people simultaneously and his ability to unite different forms, different moods, and different behaviors.
Comparison of the psychology of colors in Le Corbusier and Barragan’s works. The comparison of the works, created by a teacher and a student is always interesting. In spite of the fact that Luis Barragan was not a direct student of Le Corbusier, the influence of the latter is significantly reflected in the works of the former. First of all, these two architects prefer to use naturalistic colors in order to connect their works to reality and add more emotions to buildings. The buildings, created by these architects, are intended for living real people. And people’s lives have to be full of emotions and colors, so because of this fact, Le Corbusier and Luis Barragan tried to present buildings, which could be closer to people.
Another important point concerning the use of specific colors was the meaning of those colors to the architects. Le Corbusier, as the creator of two color palettes, introduced color standards in architecture, usually based on human emotions and possible psychological responses to a particular color. For example, red symbolizes warn and fire that is so obligatory to any person. The presence of yellow colors underlines the human necessity of sun and light, gray colors represent the style of the beginning of the 1900s. It was important to present harmony, and Le Corbusier took into consideration each detail to introduce harmony to its full extent. The unity of the environment is the only thing that is able to create harmony and connect all laws of nature (Moos 290-310).
The use of colors in numerous of Le Corbusier’s works has a considerable psychological ground. First of all, the buildings by this great architect are created for people use, this is why the presence of emotions and feelings should make these buildings better. Secondly, the meaning of each color demonstrates the architect’s preferences and principles. Taking into consideration the relations, which developed between Le Corbusier and his mother, his attention to the female role in this place is regarded to be significant in some of his works. In comparison to this great Swiss architect, Luis Barragan represents another style of architecture, where he proves that colors, as well as buildings, have to change in accordance with the current conditions. The use of specific color of these two brilliant architects is closely connected to the mood and the style of the epoch they both lived in, and their principles, which become crucial in their lives.
Baltanas, Jose. Walking through Le Corbusier: A Tour of His Masterworks. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2005. Print.
Braham, William, W. Modern Color/Modern Architecture: Amedee Ozenfant and the Genealogy of Color in Modern Architecture. Burlington, Vt: Ashgate Publishing, 2002. Print.
Martinez, Antonio, R and Barragan, Luis. Luis Barragan: Mexico’s Modern Master, 1902 – 1988. New York: The Monacelli Press, 1996. Print.
Moos, Stanislaus von. Le Corbusier: Elements of a Synthesis. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1979.