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Discovery of built space through movement of an observer signifying

development of events referred to promenade architecture,


in case of the works of Le Corbusier.
Impact of form and architectural elements of the building on choreographing the
movement/route of an observer inside it.

IMAGE SOURCE: urbanplanet.info


What is promenade architecture:

The promenade architecture - the observer's pathway through the built space - is a central element
of Le Corbusier's architectural and city-planning designs.
It is the sequence of images that unfolds before the eyes of the observer as he or she gradually advances
through the structure. It is the creation of a hierarchy among the architectural events, a set of instructions for
reading the work - the internal circulatory system of architecture. With the help of the promenade
architecture, Le Corbusier created virtuosic imbrications of indoor and outdoor space, fluid spaces that reveal
themselves as the visitor progresses. Architecture constitutes the space of processes of movement.

The promenade is an experience that engages the travellers senses. Le Corbusier stated that an
architectural promenade is a sequence of phenomena which reveal themselves as the individual
traverses the architecture. (Corbusier, 1923)
Research Question: How does form and architectural elements of the building have an impact on
choreographing the movement/route of an observer inside it, while referring to the structure of promenade- in
case of institutional building by the architect Le Corbusier?

Aim: The aim is to understand the manner in which vision and space are tied up, in particular ways
to be demonstrated as a mechanism of movement and study the elements which typically make up
each stage in Corbusier’s narrative path of ‘architecture rhetoric.’

Rhetoric is a tool used by Corbusier to structure arguments that he assembled in explaining the set of rules
related to promenade in architecture.
Architecture uses signs to communicate its function and meaning. Architecture is rhetorical because it induces
us to do what others would have us do.
From Le Corbusier’s perspective on architecture promenade it is one which uses not just the act of movement as
a tool to engage the space, but rather a collection of senses which allows for an experience of architecture
through sequence of events, much like a film script.

Hypothesis: The works of Architect Le Corbusier features a main circulatory system which at each
level has moments at which a person can experience an architecture element in that space derived
from form and structure. Elements of promenade should be basic constituents of any building.
Objectives: The key objectives of the research are:

1. Intent: Understand architect’s theory of promenade architecture and architecture rhetoric and its
link with the form and spatial structure of a building.(Rhetoric is a tool used by Corbusier to
structure arguments that he assembled in explaining the set of rules related to promenade in
architecture.
The five rules are :
● Exposition
● Development
● Summation
● Argument
● Conclusion

2. Story: Taking up a particular building and studying the rhetoric approach of various authors on his
work concluding promenade in that work. Testing the theory by implying the five points of elements
of route on the case study.

3. Sense: Establishing the observer’s perception on how the architect has proceeded for the
generation of the form to influence movement.

(The research will be based on the literature and the collected data of that particular case study and
taking out a perception from those studies regarding the topic. Hence it will be a test based research
having its roots on the theory of the architect and the author chosen.)

IMAGE SOURCE: Khan, A. (6 June 2016). The Promenade in Architecture. Bradford, United Kingdom Graduate from the University of Huddersfield.
Structure of the research:

The thesis will focus on the keywords, i.e., Form, structure, movement and Architecture promenade.

It will also include intercorrelation in a space design with respect to promenade architecture. This
research will focus on one building (work of architect) which would be chosen for their potential to
show a concern for the ways in which the forms generate specific spatial experiences studied on the
basis of the ‘elements of route’ (as specified on theory basis).

The tentative structure of the thesis is:

• Studying the elements of route : Perspective, axes, frame as well as particular form creates flow,
cause resistance and alter passage of movement.

•Going through the ideologies of the architect- Understand architect’s theory of promenade
architecture and architecture rhetoric and its link with the form and spatial structure of a
building.(Rhetoric is a tool used by Corbusier to structure arguments that he assembled in explaining
the set of rules related to promenade in architecture. The five rules are exposition, development,
summation, argument and conclusion.)

For Corbusier purpose of promenade is a metaphor for life's journey, finishing in ecstatic union within
cosmos.
Le Corbusier described the experience of entry into the Casa del Noce in Pompeii

Then comes the atrium, four columns in the middle


shoot up towards the shade of the roof, giving a feeling
A little vestibule that frees your mind from the of force and witness of potent methods.
street.

Far end brilliance of garden seen through the The garden distributes light and accentuates it, stretching
peristyle which spreads out light with a large gesture widely from left to right making a great space.
IMAGE SOURCE: 1)Corbusier, L. (1923). Towards a new architecture. New York: Dovers publications I.N.C.
2)artemagazine.it
•Taking up a particular building and studying the rhetoric approach of various authors on his work
concluding promenade in that work- Taking forward Le Corbusier’s ‘narrative path’ and describing it
on the basis of the ‘elements of route’ identified by the British architect and writer Flora Samuel in
her book ‘Le Corbusier and Architecture Promenade’.
The five elements being:

1. Threshold and Introduction - Feeling of spatial flow, site of transformation and revelation(for
example pivoting door used in Corbusier’s works, not pivoted on the center hence not obstructing
the route.
In Villa Savoye, path that leads to the house away from the traffic building critical threshold. Doorway indicates
start of the threshold.

2. Sensitising Vestibule(Disorientation)- Engage, focus and participate the observer. Helps to


construct a particular state of mind, state of reception.
In Villa Savoye, it is referred to as intestinal space between threshold and start of the building. Observer is
introduced to the interior of the space.

IMAGE SOURCE: 1)archdaily.com


2)dezeen.com
3. Questioning (Climax)- Highly freeform space, containing numerous sub routes and sub
destinations. It is distracted from the main promenade. Witness to potent methods, passive
experience as observer is exposed to range of information.
In Villa Savoye, the space opens up into a first floor terrace , the observer begins to question and wander long
to discover it.

4. Reorientation (Falling action)- Attract the observer to the center of gravity. Building takes the
form of a stair or ramp often highly contained. Discovery of path leading to brilliance of views and vistas.
In Villa Savoye, this stage usually takes up a form of ramp which leads from the first floor outdoor garden to the
roof.

5. Culmination (Denouement) - Promenade culminates on the roof. Referred to as end of spiritual


axis and start of the ecstatic view of the sun and the moon. Attainment of distant view and climax of
the journey.
In Villa Savoye, the possibility of an end is depicted through the distant framed area of landscape and the large
wall which envelopes the roof garden signifies the journey is about to conclude.

IMAGE SOURCE: 1)archdaily.com


2)dezeen.com
•Testing the theory- Implying these five points on the case study and establishing the observer’s
perception on how the architect has proceeded for the generation of the form to influence
movement.

•Concluding on the note of the hypothesis.


The research will be based on the literature and the collected data of that particular case study and
taking out a perception from those studies regarding the topic. Hence it will be a test based research
having its roots on the theory of the architect and the author chosen.
The above thesis structure can help in tackling the research question and the development of the
analysis of the selected building.

Probable Case Study


Le Corbusier’s buildings in Ahmedabad and Chandigarh:
1. Sanskar Kendra(The Museum)
2. Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh
3. Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh

IMAGE SOURCE: 1)archdaily.com


2)chdmuseum.gov.in
3) dnaindia.com