July 05: Lord Voldecorb

2016/07/05 § 1 Comment

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 powers to summon 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 persuasion 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

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