July 05: lord voldecorb

2012/07/05 § 6 Comments

During this month in 1933 participants in the fourth CIAM conference travelled from Marseilles to Athens on the S.S. Patris.

In 1928 Le Corbusier and Sigfried Giedion combined their evil powers and attracted two dozen European modernist architects to form the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne (CIAM) with the express intent of ruining the world.  Le Corb and Das Zig hypnotized and brainwashed the participants, replacing their abilities as creative individual thinkers with the mind-numbing mantra of Modernism: hygiene is beauty, space is mass, architecture can be made a ‘social art’ by ignoring ‘society,’ and the imposition of absolute formal demands frees architecture from rules it never originally had.

In 1933 they gathered their minions on a boat, making it harder for them to escape.  As they floated on the Mediterranean, Corb used his powers of reason to explain his principles of urban planning: decentralization, severe social stratification, functional zoning, brutal buildings, expansive highways, forgotten gardens, demolition of functioning historic cities. His acolytes dutifully recorded his teachings in the document known as the Athens Charter, which was circulated all over the world.  Spooky dark clouds followed, and then: urban ‘renewal,’ ‘slum clearance,’ highways, 20-story public housing projects, vast urban plazas, unwalkable cities.

Finally in 1959 the spell of Corb was lifted and the CIAM was disbanded.  Slowly, urban planning departments worldwide are coming to their senses.  The Muse advises you to take all caution in handling the copies of the Charter that remain in circulation–never enter an architecture library or theory seminar without a basilisk fang at the ready.

Image: Le Corbusier on the Patris II, CIAM IV, 1933 (from this source)


Tagged: , , ,

§ 6 Responses to July 05: lord voldecorb

  • Susan Barsy says:

    One of your wackiest posts, ever, Clio. (Yes, I am the ideal reader who clicks on all the links.) Extra points for spelling Siggy’s last name right. I have read that this boatload of thinkers coined a branch of studies called “ekestics.” I guess that makes you an anti-ekestician.

    I must admit to having a soft spot in my heart for SG’s Mechanization Takes Command, which seemed to me to reflect an intellect that was not just encyclopedically wide-ranging but critical and amusing. Which leads me to wonder if a certain goddess isn’t being a bit unfair–to SG at least.

    • Clio says:

      My dear Ms. Barsy,
      Considering the way these jokers defined “ekestics,” you bet your agora the Muse is anti-ek.
      And perhaps the Muse is unduly harsh on Das Zig, but she has witnessed, with not a little pain, some of her beloved acolytes’ furious and hopeless battles against their colleagues in architecture departments, trying to explain that Space Time Architecture is not history, that she must wave the banner just so.
      Yours, Clio.

  • Clio, correct me as only you can. Wasn’t the CIAM meeting on a boat the alternative plan? Lord voldecorb intended to hold the CIAM in Moscow to celebrate his assumed selection in the competition for the design of the Palace of the Soviets. You know better than me how to draw this out of the myth of lord voldecorb.

    • Clio says:

      My dear professor,
      You know the Muse delights in correcting you, but this time you’ve got it right. Who knows what might have happened if Corb had been chosen to build his Forms In Light, in lieu of that wedding cake monstrosity that Iofan proposed? Corb in Moscow, right then? That could have changed EVERYTHING.
      Yours, Clio

  • Wonderful post, skewering another of those who wished to “to spin pure innovation out of nothingness”

Clio loves comments! Please leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading July 05: lord voldecorb at Clio’s Calendar: Daily Musings on Architectural History.


%d bloggers like this: