Early life and education, 1887–1913
He was born as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small city in Neuchâtel canton in north-western Switzerland, in the Jura mountains, just 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) across the border from France. He attended a kindergarten that used Fröbelian methods.
Le Corbusier was attracted to the visual arts and studied at the La-Chaux-de-FondsArt School under Charles L'Eplattenier, who had studied in Budapest and Paris. His architecture teacher in the Art School was the architect René Chapallaz, who had a large influence on Le Corbusier's earliest houses.
In his early years he would frequently escape the somewhat provincial atmosphere of his hometown by traveling around Europe. About 1907, he traveled to Paris, where he found workin the office of Auguste Perret, the French pioneer of reinforced concrete. In 1908, He studied architecture in Vienna with Josef Hoffmann. Between October 1910 and March 1911, he worked near Berlin for the renowned architect Peter Behrens, where he might have met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. He became fluent in German. Both of these experiences proved influential in his latercareer.
Later in 1911, he journeyed to the Balkans and visited Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, filling sketchbooks with renderings of what he saw, including many famous sketches of the Parthenon, whose forms he would later praise in his work Vers une architecture (1923) ("Towards an Architecture," but usually translated into English as "Towards a New Architecture").
Early career: the villas, 1914–1930Le Corbusier taught at his old school in La-Chaux-de-Fonds during World War I, not returning to Paris until the war was over. During these four years in Switzerland, he worked on theoretical architectural studies using modern techniques. Among these was his project for the "Dom-ino" House (1914–1915). This model proposed an open floor plan consisting of concrete slabs supported by a minimalnumber of thin, reinforced concrete columns around the edges, with a stairway providing access to each level on one side of the floor plan.
This design became the foundation for most of his architecture for the next ten years. Soon he would begin his own architectural practice with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret (1896–1967), a partnership that would last until 1940.
In 1918, Le Corbusier metthe Cubist painter, Amédée Ozenfant, in whom he recognised a kindred spirit. Ozenfant encouraged him to paint, and the two began a period of collaboration. Rejecting Cubism as irrational and "romantic," the pair jointly published their manifesto, Après le cubisme and established a new artistic movement, Purism. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier established the Purist journal L'Esprit nouveau. He was goodfriends with the Cubist artist Fernand Léger.
Pseudonym adopted, 1920
In the first issue of the journal, in 1920, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret adopted Le Corbusier, an altered form of his maternal grandfather's name, "Lecorbésier", as a pseudonym, reflecting his belief that anyone could reinvent themselves. Some architectural historians claim that this pseudonym translates as "the raven-likeone." Adopting a single name to identify oneself was in vogue by artists in many fields during that era, especially among those in Paris.
The name "Le Corbusier" is a registered trademark (US Reg. 2073285) owned by the Fondation Le Corbusier and licensed for the production of designs created by Charles Jeanneret alone and with his co-authors Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret.
Between1918 and 1922, Le Corbusier built nothing, concentrating his efforts on Purist theory and painting. In 1922, Le Corbusier and Ozenfant opened a studio in Paris at 35 rue de Sèvres.
His theoretical studies soon advanced into several different single-family house models. Among these was the Maison "Citrohan", a pun on the name of the French Citroën automaker, for the modern industrial methods...