Le Corbusier in the Antipodes
Art, Architecture and Urbanism
This book considers the architect Le Corbusier’s encounters with Australia and New Zealand as a two-way exchange, showing the impact of his ideas and projects on architects of the region whilst also revealing counterinfluences on Le Corbusier in his post-war career that were activated by his contacts.
Compiled from detailed archival research undertaken at the Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, and nationally based archives, Le Corbusier in the Antipodes brings together a set of episodes placing them in context with the history of modern art, architecture and urbanism in 20th century Australia and New Zealand. Key exchanges between Le Corbusier and others never before described are presented and analyzed, including Le Corbusier’s contact with Australian architect Harry Seidler at Chandigarh, Le Corbusier’s drawing of the plan of Adelaide in 1950 and his creative collaboration with Jorn Utzon on art for the Sydney Opera House. This book also includes analysis of previously unseen Le Corbusier artworks, which formed part of the Utzon family collection. In reading these personal and contingent moments of encounter, the book puts forward new ways of understanding the dissemination and mediation of Le Corbusier’s ideas and their effects in post-war Australia and New Zealand.
These antipodean contacts are set against the broader story of Le Corbusier’s career, questioning received interpretations of his design methods and current assumptions about the influence of his work in national contexts beyond Europe.
Table of Contents
Foreword; Acknowledgements; Introduction: Uncharted Territory; Part I: Art; Chapter 1: At world’s end: An architect’s art in Australia; Chapter 2: From Paris to Sydney via Hellebæk: The art commission for Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House; Part II: Architecture; Chapter 3: Eyes that see differently: Reactions of the profession, public and press; Chapter 4: Learning by distance: Gauging influence in Australia and New Zealand; Part III: Urbanism; Chapter 5: Maisons en serie for Australia: Reflections on the post-war house; Chapter 6: Circulating ideas for new cities: From Adelaide to Chandigarh, between and beyond
Antony Moulis is Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, The University of Queensland, Australia, where he teaches design, history and theory of Architecture. He co-edited Le Corbusier: Critical Concepts in Architecture (2018), a four-volume collection of writings on Le Corbusier. Moulis has published widely on contemporary architecture and connections across Europe, North America and Australia.
"With original research and engaging narration, Antony Moulis invites us to gaze at a previously uncharted constellation of episodes in Le Corbusier's impact on public and professional reception of modern architecture in Australia and New Zealand, regions this travel-loving architect never visited. As revealing for national histories of architecture as they are for understanding Le Corbusier's role as a veritable proxy for debates on modernism, this compelling addition to the literature on one of the key thinkers of Twentieth century architecture shines new light on such major issues as pre-fabrication in housing, the revival of vernacular architectural knowledge, and the relationship of town planning to nature."
– Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History, Columbia University, USA
"Through previously unknown masterpieces like the tapestry Les dés sont jetés (1960) by Le Corbusier and Jørn Utzon for the Sydney Opera House, and the transgressive 'black Villa Savoye' in Canberra, Antony Moulis constructs a ground-breaking account of the intriguing travels of modern architectural ideas between Europe, Australia and New Zealand."
– Tom Avermaete, Chair for the History and Theory of Urban Design, ETH Zürich, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), Switzerland
"Given the hundreds of books and articles about Le Corbusier’s life and work, one might think there was nothing more to say about the French-Swiss architect, but Antony Moulis in this well-researched, clearly written and handsomely illustrated book has done just that. Drawing from newspaper articles, professional architectural press, and numerous archives, Moulis shows how this modern "master" became a subject of both approbation and criticism in Australia and New Zealand."
– Mary McLeod, Professor of Architecture, Columbia University, USA
"In Le Corbusier in the Antipodes, Moulis charts the complex itineraries of influence and access that graph the global history of modern architecture, and especially so the work of one of its foremost provocateurs, Le Corbusier. Covering art, architecture and urbanism, Moulis weaves a tapestry of connections, both explicit and implicit, linking Paris to locations world-wide, but especially so to the Antipodes."
– Vikramaditya Prakash, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
"Le Corbusier in the Antipodes explores the passage of influence. It also goes beyond influence, revealing and unpicking a series of incidents that demonstrate direct connection between Le Corbusier and the Antipodes. Written by Australia’s foremost scholar of Le Corbusier, it is the result of many years of painstaking archival research. It is a highly engaging read and a significant contribution to the scholarship on Le Corbusier."
– Julia Gatley, Associate Professor, University of Auckland, New Zealand