The Carpernter Center
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Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known under the pseudonym Le Corbusier, was an outstanding designer, architect, and writer. He was widely recognized for his modern architecture. Le Corbusier devoted his entire life to Utopian ideas. He imagined a city on a grand scale and suggested reforming the world. However, his influence was remarkably important, he did not truly built very much. He was known as a designer who had a lot of unimaginable ideas. For instance, Le Corbusier used to imagining the destruction of Paris's historic downtown in order to build magnificent and huge towers; although, he had never built any skyscraper himself.
In 1963, the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts was completely finished. It is worth mentioning that, in the USA, this building is the only one which was constructed by Le Corbusier. While working at the edifice project of such modern design in the traditional location, the architect kept in mind that this building, dedicated to the visual art students, should be the representation of creativity and freedom. He rejected the old-style architecture as it was completely inconsistent with the visual art. According to Le Corbusier, the Carpenter Center was to represent a 'synthesis of the various arts.' This implied that painting, sculpture, architecture, and creative concepts were supposed to be joined in order to create a unique masterpiece (Curtis 1994). In 1968, Alfred St. Vrain Carpenter presented the Carpenter Center to Harward Colledge. This center became the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.
Exterior and Interior Peculiarities of the Carpenter Center
The Carpernter Center is located between Prescott and Quincy Streets. Similar to a condensation of the Ville Radieuse and Quand les Cathedrales Etaient Blanches, the Carpenter Center combines artificial and organic, black and white, curved and cubic, glass and concrete (Sekler & Curtis 358).
It is worth mentioning that the design of the Carpenter Center was based on the four key principles: (1) communication and light on the ground floor; (2) three dimensional forms for the studio space on the second one; (3) two dimensional forms for the studio space on the third floor; (4) the space for exhibitions on the fourth one (The Carpenter Center by Le Corbusier).
The space allotted for the building was rather small, so the Carpernter Center was constructed as a cylindrical and compact mass that is bisected by the S-shaped ramp (Heineman 2003). The ramp was designed to separate the two segments of the building and to enforce its oblique. At the same time, it represents the point of entrance and exit. In such a way, the architect managed to make the structure openness visible. He considered that the exploiting of ramps that are capable of linking two levels should be treated as an outstanding interpretation of outer and inner space.
In order to avoid the central mass destruction, the pinwheel effect was applied to. This was constructed in such a way that two halves were supposed to meet at the vertical core where there should be a lift. The pilots elevate the concrete ramp which cantilevers from the central spine of the edifice. The optical perspective deformations appear if to look at these pilots, while standing on the ground floor. They are hidden by partitions and curved walls on both sides. They also let the landscape expand beneath the center, thus creating a direct interaction with the nature. It is very obvious that every inner space of the center enclose virtual grid fragments that are sustained by the pilots. Climbing the next floors, the building begins to reveal itself as a unique cubical mass that is joined by means of curved elements. The real meaning of this structure becomes clear only after coming to its top. There, the structural grid of pilots coincides with the non-load-bearing walls forming the ram that has the longitudinal dimension. The spatial coordinated system order is achieved through the application of the pilots that are found on every floor.
The hierarchy of the four-storied building is stated to be both vertical and programmatic. The ground floor represents the so called reception of space that is designated for the photographic as well as cinematic research. Thus, on the shaded ground floor of the center, it is possible to observe a spectrum that consists of four dimensions. On the second floor, the matter can be easily wielded and felt by hands. On the third floor, the mark and the color are used to project various concepts on the easel. On the fourth floor, all created works are displayed in the rectangular space.
Every floor of the center is the representation of different and unique creation modality. They are so skillfully combined to represent a spatial analogue where all senses, mind, and hands of a person will find their expression. The Carpenter Center is always full of the light that is reflected in each creation displayed. The brise-soleil of the facades allows the light to filter into the building.
At the top of the building, there is a landing which leads to different exhibition halls and studios. All these inside spaces can be easily observed through glass doors and windows. The application of glass allows to display the inside processes not being interfered with; while being inside allows to see everything what is taking place outside the building. It happens so that both spaces turn out to be interrelated and interdependent.
It should be stressed that the interdependence and the interrelation are observed not only between spaces but between all elements of the building. The Carpenter Center is stated to be constructed taking into account various principles, but the most essential one is the assembly of the multiple and the singular.
It is pretty obvious that the Carpenter Center was envisioned to be a model, a script, or, if it possible to say so, a resume of Le Corbusier's entire life and work. All favourite components of the architect, such as brise-soleil, pilotis, ondulatoires, aerators, and ramps, can be easily found on /within the building. Each of these components has its unique history as well as significance and can lead to the comprehension of Le Corbusier’s architecture and philosophy.
According to Cuitis, the Carpenter Center should be viewed as an remarkable example of the urbanistic architecture (Cuitis (1994). Without doubts, this center is a skillful combination of real and imaginable, natural and artificial, simple and complex. As each creation, the Carpenter Center is believed to reflect the heart and mind of its creator.
The building can be conceptualized as a cube, or just like a city, that is integrated with the two heart-shaped extensions. These two extensions house two main studios. The S-shape ramp, which looks like an urban parkway, reflects the urban metaphor very clearly. Le Corbusier managed to implement his modernist dream in the Carpenter Center. The return of modern architecture to nature can be viewed as an attempt to reveal a true essence of this architecture.