Charles Edouard-Jeanneret was born in 1887 in the small watch-making town of Le Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. The architect and designer later changed his name to Le Corbusier, a mix of the French for crow Corbeau and his Grandmother's maiden name.
Whilst attending his local École d’Art Jeanneret was given the opportunity to design his first building. Within a team of other students, he created the Villa Fallet.
After two tours around Europe designing with iconic designers such as Josef Hofmann of the Werkbund, the pioneering concrete builders, the Perret brothers and the raumplan architect Adolf Loos, the young architect returned to his home village, designing a home for his parents. He moved to Paris in 1917 where he met Amedee Ozenfant and created the Purist journal L'Espirit Nouveau. Purism was a movement across all art forms, poetry, architecture, painting, sculpture and literature. His Pavilion de L'Esprit Nouveau, built for the 1922 International decorative arts exhibition in Paris, an embodiment of the movement's ideals.
His work's purist ideals equally aligned with those of international modernism. This status confirmed when he was invited to work on an exhibition housing estate on the outskirts of Stuttgart in 1927. The project was directed by Lily Riech and Mies Van Der Rohe, to promote the need for modern living spaces across Europe. Jeanneret designed houses 14 and 15.
Continuing to plan the cities of the future, he designed multiple plans to maximise light and space for modern industrial life. These included the Ville Contemporaine and the Ville Radieuse. The later based on Unité d’Habitation blocks for living and his human proportional system of the Modulor. Individual versions of these self-contained blocks were built across Europe; one in Berlin and one in Marseilles.
His later work became more experimental, playing with forms, materials and function. These projects include the Philips Pavillion, a convex concrete form with a philosophical and organic film playing inside. The monastery, La Tourette and his chapel Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp, both exploring medieval form and light to create spirituality. To his Cabinon at Roquebrune Cap Martin in the south of France, where he built a prefabricated cabin to overlook his neighbour Eileen Gray.