A colorful account of Le Corbusier's love affair with the automobile, his vision of the ideal vehicle, and his tireless promotion of a design that industry never embraced.
Le Corbusier, who famously called a house "a machine for living," was fascinated -- even obsessed -- by another kind of machine, the automobile. His writings were strewn with references to autos: "If houses were built industrially, mass-produced like chassis, an aesthetic would be formed with surprising precision," he wrote in Toward an Architecture (1923). In his "white phase" of the twenties and thirties, he insisted that his buildings photographed with a modern automobile in the foreground. Le Corbusier moved beyond the theoretical in 1936, entering (with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret) an automobile design competition, submitting plans for "a minimalist vehicle for maximum functionality," the Voiture Minimum. Despite Le Corbusier's energetic promotion of his design to several important automakers, the Voiture Minimum was never mass-produced. This book is the first to tell the full and true story of Le Corbusier's adventure in automobile design. Architect Antonio Amado describes the project in detail, linking it to Le Corbusier's architectural work, to Modernist utopian urban visions, and to the automobile design projects of other architects including Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright. He provides abundant images, including many pages of Le Corbusier's sketches and plans for the Voiture Minimum, and reprints Le Corbusier's letters seeking a manufacturer. Le Corbusier's design is often said to have been the inspiration for Volkswagen's enduringly popular Beetle; the architect himself implied as much, claiming that his design for the 1936 competition originated in 1928, before the Beetle. Amado Lorenzo, after extensive examination of archival and source materials, disproves this; the influence may have gone the other way. Although many critics considered the Voiture Minimum a footnote in Le Corbusier's career, Le Corbusier did not. This book, lavishly illustrated and exhaustively documented, restores Le Corbusier's automobile to the main text.
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Antonio Amado Lorenzo, an architect, is Professor in the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura at the Universidade da Coruña (udc.es/) in Spain.Review:
7 NOTABLE DESIGN BOOKS OF 2011: "Antonio Amado, an architect who has packed his book full of every bit of information on Le Corbusier and the car and supplied a miniature history of auto design in Europe in the twenties and thirties as well".
Phil Patton (Nov, 17th 2011) -- DESIGNERS & BOOKS (USA).
"This beautiful book, wonderfully researched and written, is clearly a labor of love for architect Amado (...) The author covers this topic so thoroughly (...) that one might suggest that with this publication the topic is now closed. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
C.J. Myers, University of the Sciences in Philadelpia. (DEC 2011) -- CHOICE (USA).
"VM" selected as one of "The ten best new design books" in this British newspaper. (Feb, 3rd 2011) --THE INDEPENDENT (UK)
"By turns philosophical, exuberant, technical and historical. . . . brings into lively relief Le Corbusier's many significant, but negligibly recognized, achievements in industrial design and urban planning." (Spring 2011) --MODERNISM (USA)
"Antonio Amado´s central project with this readable and engrossing book is to restore the car to what he considers its rightful place in Le Corbusier´s philosophy: at the centre." Trevor Baker (May 2011) --BLUEPRINT (UK)
"Voiture Minimum. Le Corbusier and the Automobile by Antonio Amado is less the history of a single car than of an entire century of car design." (Apr, 2nd 2011) --THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (USA)
“An engaging read...the book is almost an exploration of ideas on cars and mobility at this junction in history. Amado is a fluid writer, creating a charming narrative, chapter after chapter building up to the climax that is the story of the car itself.” — Nargess Shahmanesh Banks, (Feb, 20 2011) --DESIGN TALKS (UK)
"Amado explains that the myth around the Minimum is based on it predating the Beetle and 2CV. He says: “A lot of people quoted other people who quoted Le Corbusier when he said that he had designed his prototype in 1928". -- Farah Alkhalisi (Apr, 26, 2011) --THE TELEGRAPH (UK)
Révolutionnaire? C’est ce que Le Corbusier a tenté de faire croire par la suite, en jurant qu’il avait dessiné les plans de sa voiture dès 1928. Antonio Amado prétend le contraire: «... mes recherches montrent que la «Voiture Minimum» n’a pas pu être dessinée avant le début de l’année 1936... En définitive, la voiture de Le Corbusier n’est ni révolutionnaire ni même vraiment innovante!» Renaud Malik (May, 6th 2011) --LE MATIN (Schwitzerland).
"The fundamental argument of the book is that the car design constitutes an essential part of Le Corbusier’s philosophy and should not be treated as a mere footnote to his designs for buildings and cities, or his wider theories about design principles and proportions." Phil Patton (May, 13rd 2011) --THE NEW YORK TIMES (USA).
"Zu einem ebenso originellen wie umfassenden Buch über dieses einzigartige Autoprojekt".
("An original and complete book on this unique car"). Jürgen Pander (May, 9th 2011) --SPIEGEL Online (Germany)
"To be honest, my budget hasn´t included any of the twenty-six or so books devoted to Le Corbusier that arrived in the last decade. (...) But "Voiture Minimum" is something different. A few pages in, I realized that I´d been gulled." Craig Hodgetts (Jul, 7th 2011) -- THE ARCHITECT´S NEWSPAPER (USA)
"Amado dokumentiert ausführliche Briefwechsel und zeigt umfangreiches Bildmaterial, er stellt Kontexte her und analysiert den Entwurf des "Voiture Minimum" bis ins Detail. Ein lesenswertes Buch über die Frühgeschichte von Kleinwagenkonzepten. te" ("Amado documented detailed letters and shows extensive picture material, he presents contexts, and analyzes the draft of the "Voiture Minimum" to the last detail. A worthwhile book on the early history of small car concepts.") Jörg Stürzebecher (Jul-Ago 2011) --DESIGN REPORT (Germany).
"At just £ 36.95, the result is also a veritable bargain these days for a 350 page hardbound book (...) This is, quite simply, the best and most lavishly presented read to have passed my way in a long while. (...) Overall this is a book to savour at leisure." Brian Palmer (Summer 2011) --BIG END (UK).
"This subject will probably never again be covered in as much detail, and both Amado and the MIT Press deserve praise for tackling it. Reg Winstone (Aug, 2011) --THE AUTOMOBILE (UK).“One of the most curious stories we've published in these 13 issues. It's called "Le Corbusier's secret" and in it the Spanish architect Antonio Amado reveals one of the Swiss-French urban planner's best kept secrets.” Juan Fernández (Sep-Dec 2011) -- SUMMUS (Colombia)
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Descripción MIT Press Ltd, 2011. Estado de conservación: New. 2011. Reprint. Hardcover. A colorful account of Le Corbusier's love affair with the automobile, his vision of the ideal vehicle, and his tireless promotion of a design that industry never embraced. Translator(s): Hierons, Penelope; Duffus, Barbara E. Num Pages: 368 pages, 180 color illus., 205 b&w illus., approx. BIC Classification: AKB; AKP; AMB; WGC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 235 x 233 x 29. Weight in Grams: 1564. . . . . . . Nº de ref. de la librería V9780262015363
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Descripción MIT Press Ltd. Estado de conservación: New. 2011. Reprint. Hardcover. A colorful account of Le Corbusier's love affair with the automobile, his vision of the ideal vehicle, and his tireless promotion of a design that industry never embraced. Translator(s): Hierons, Penelope; Duffus, Barbara E. Num Pages: 368 pages, 180 color illus., 205 b&w illus., approx. BIC Classification: AKB; AKP; AMB; WGC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 235 x 233 x 29. Weight in Grams: 1564. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Nº de ref. de la librería V9780262015363
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