Le Corbusier

Palais des Congrès     Strasbourg


with St. Pierre enlarged   3374
comparative scale analysis  dt98/0100

Hotels at the Palais des Congrès   2199
Form 001   2301
Maison Millennium 001   2304
Maison Millennium 002   2317
Maison Millennium 003   2318
Maison Millennium 004   2319
Schizophrenic Folds   2307
House for Otto 9   2315
House for Otto 10   2316
Palais des Exposé   2321
Le Composites   2380
Palais House 10: Museum   2394
Palais Savoye   2411

Palais des Congrès à Strasbourg     3150 3151 3152 3153 3154 3155 3156 3157 3158 3159 3160 3161 3162

Towards a Metabolic Architecture
a comparative analysis between the Villa Savoye and the Palais de Congrès; ...the issue of "style" and how Le Corbusier provides a key how to evolve as an architectural designer...

scale and architecture
...Palais des Congrès, another building big on the scale of governmental symbolism. Although the buildings possesses a large footprint, it manifests a shallow profile. The building was intended as the Parliament of the united states of Europe. The building is essentially a large box raised on pilotis, the same motif as the Villa Savoye and the Governor's Palace. The building is greatly enhanced by two monumental ramps--the entrance ramp and an interior/exterior ramp that connects the main level with the upper level and ultimately with the roof garden. One can easily suspect that Le Corbusier's primary concern was the movement of large numbers of people, and thus the building became more spread out rather than vertical. The ramps themselves are of the scale of automobile highway on and off ramps (although the ramps are perhaps really down-scaled versions of highway ramps). The other large scale elements on the exterior are the service elevator and the large graphics "embossed" on the elevations of the raised box.
Another scale lesson can be gleamed from the layout of the main level. Here Le Corbusier places many spaces/functions within one grand and open loft space, whereby the entire main floor is composed of many smaller elements, thus creating a microcosm of urban-centeredness. The notion of a microcosm under one roof does have something to do with scale, however, on a much more symbolic (or even metaphorical) level, and this, of course, recalls the idea of Pantheon as an interior microcosm. Perhaps the main floor of the Palais is a manifestation of Le Corbusier's idea of modern microcosm, i.e., free forms dispersed through a Cartesian order (perhaps read (reread?) the "Grid" article in Oppositions).
...compare the Palais des Congrès with Villa Savoye and the Governor's Palace, and maybe Governmental Complex of West Pakistan. ...comparing the plan/ramps of the Palais des Congrès with the Vine Street highway ramps that connect with I-95 in Philadelphia. 1996.04.23
regarding the Palais des Congrès
Although the buildings possesses a large footprint, it manifests a shallow profile. The building is essentially a large box raised on pilotis, the same motif as the Villa Savoye and the Governor's Palace. The building is greatly enhanced by two monumental ramps--the entrance ramp and an interior/exterior ramp that connects the main with the upper floor and ultimately with the roof garden. The ramps themselves are of the scale of automobile highway on and off ramps. The other large scale elements on the exterior are the service elevator and the large graphics "embossed" on the elevations of the raised box.
Another scale lesson can be gleamed from the layout of the main level. Here Le Corbusier places many spaces/functions within one grand and open loft space, whereby the entire main floor is composed of many smaller elements, thus creating a microcosm of urban-centeredness. Perhaps the main floor of Strasbourg is a manifestation of Le Corbusier's idea of modern microcosm, i.e., free forms dispersed throughout a Cartesian order. (Perhaps I should reread that "Grid" article in Oppositions.)

Palais des Congrès European Parliament

data of the models
...drawings to do: Palais des Congrès in worm's eye view.

Palais des Congrès documentation
...part one: the site and the building itself. ...part two the promenade architecturale formula. ...part three the Hejduk comparisons. ...part four comparative scale analysis.
...plan comparisons, also elevation comparisons... ...an additional part of the document--a collection of the notes... ...an ongoing series from the Virtual Museum of Architecture. ...repeating the plans I had exactly five years ago...

Palais des Congrès documentation
1. Documentation: the building and its site
2. Design analysis
3. Comparative analysis
...the similarity between Strasbourg and the Villa Savoye which leads to the promenade architecturale formula. ...the interior of the Palais's two forums compared to the interiors of the Palace of the Soviets. ...the structure on the Palais stage [compared] to the Maison Dom-ino--a paradigm of Le Corbusier's overall design message and methodology.
...a scale comparison between the Palais des Congrès and practically any other building... ...also collage the Palais des Congrès with other buildings, particularly with St. Pierre Firminy-Vert.

Palais des Congrès documentation
...thoughts on architectural drawings as "texts" of architects the same way that musical scores are the "texts" written and read by musicians. ...3D CAD modeling allows unbuilt architecture to be "played" the way an orchestra performs a symphony. ...3D modeling is taken advantage of by placing a variety of buildings at the same scale into a virtual context, a virtual museum.

Architectural Promenade
...it was the creation of the Palais des Congrès model that lead to a search/quest for the meaning of the promenade architecturale. ...first attracted to the Palais des Congrès because of its unique roof garden and the enormous ramp that sprang out of the building and provides access to the roof. It was because of the roof design that the first comparisons to the Villa Savoye were made.
...soon all the similarities between the Palais des Congrès and the Villa Savoye became apparent--the superficial comparisons were obvious, but the notion of a promenade architecturale formula came as a result of the comparison.
Frampton's caption regarding the promenade architecturale at the Villa Stein de Monzie... ...looking at the Villa Stein de Monzie, began to see the manifestation of the promenade architecturale, especially the notion of a steadily ascending path.
The formula gelled through the evidence found in the three buildings.

transparent models
...presenting some models transparently.

Maison Dom-ino and other paradigm buildings
...specific views like the Palais des Congrès stage set in context... ...views of one building in relation to the others.

Body, Imagination, Architecture
...the Palais des Congrès comparison with the Villa Savoye... ...Le Corbusier's assimilating and metabolic process.

Maison Dom-ino Legacy   3163

archiving and new images
...rotating the model to true North... ...taking the model apart, thereby capitalizing on all the "virtual" possibilities. ...perspectives showing what the building is like with and without certain elements, like a view of level three minus everything except the columns and the escalator, or just minus the glass, or even just minus the columns.

Palais des Congrès à Strasbourg

Looking Back from the End of the Road   3164

Palais des Congrès -Villa Savoye comparison
In making the comparison between the Palais des Congrès and the Villa Savoye, there might be some reinforcement from Wölfflin's text regarding the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque.

Stirling's Muses
...the Palais des Congrès / Wallraf-Richartz Museum connection where the promenade architecturale is the theme.

animated gifs
Palais des Congrès / Villa Savoye comparison... ...showing a model being pieced together part by part...

...replace level 3 of the Palais des Congrès with Hejduk's House 10: Museum.

European Parliament
In light of the new European Parliament building (as featured in ARCHIS January 1999), it would be interesting to re-examine the first design for a European Parliament, also in Strasbourg, as proposed by Le Corbusier, 1964.
Le Corbusier's design is hailed in gallery 1999 as the "most modern building of the 20th century" precisely because this (virtual) building symbolizes a discernible pinnacle of modernism in architecture, which in turn symbolizes a pinnacle of Western 20th century culture/politics as well. >br>

gallery 1999
...a crazy building where a whole set of collaged Villa Savoyes are placed within the Palais des Congrès with level 3 and 4 emptied out except for the columns.

letter to India - the formula   3172

most modern?
...the main floor of Palais des Congrès is very much (spatially and programmatically) what a major portion of airports are now a days--compacted 'cities' in a sense. Moreover, the ramps (which ultimately) lead to the sky (to a huge roof garden) carry the airport analogy/metaphor ever upwards.

most modern building of the 20th century   dt99/0101

Hypostyle   3167 3168 3169

Re: Piranesi
In terms of the promenade bifurcating, take note of the ramp at Le Corbusier's Palais des Congrès, it too bifurcates, but the important issue (for me at least) is the transition from inside to outside, and, of course, the continual rising which is found in (so far) the Villa Savoye, the Danteum, and the Palais des Congrès.

letters from/to India   3173

I see the point along the promenade architecturale [in Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye and his Palais des Congrès] where there is both outside and inside as precisely the same as Terragni's representation of Purgatory within the Danteum--the room that manifests equal measures of inside and outside. ...'limbo'--essentially being there and not there at the same time. The notion of limbo basically differs, however, from the notion of purgation. Although Purgatory gets its name because that is where purging (of the profane from the sacred) occurs. This notion of separation also relates directly to the notion bifurcation that you related to the heart of the Villa Savoye.
The notion of limbo also directly describes the inside/outside ramp situation of the Palais des Congrès--not only is the ramp 'suspended' (in limbo) outside the main building block, moreover, half way up the ramp, it changes from an interior ramp to an exterior ramp.

the formula in words
Both the Villa Savoye and the Palais des Congrès are essentially boxes raised on pilotis with a continuous ramp connecting three distinct levels. All three levels in each building and their relationship to the ongoing ascent of the ramp are part of the promenade formula. The lowest level, under the raised box, is symbolically the most mundane, and here Le Corbusier enacts a forest of pilotis within which the perimeter of the building is recessed -- significantly, the entry point and the beginning point of ascent (ramp) are nearly synonymous. As one begins moving through the buildings, one is also ascending. The second level, the box, symbolizes the realm of limbo, the in-between, part inside and part outside. For Le Corbusier, this is realm where we live (Savoye) and where we gather (Congrès). Ultimately, the ramp in both buildings raises us to the garden on the roof in the realm of the sky. For Le Corbusier, this is architecture's goal, this is where architecture should deliver us.
What makes this formula even more interesting is that it is evident in other building, by architects other than Le Corbusier, and both after and before Le Corbusier's time. First I found the very same formula implemented in Stirling/Wilford's Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, 1977. Just as Le Corbusier elaborates and distorts the formula late in his life within the design of the Palais des Congrès, Stirling too further distorts the promenade route at Cologne. Then, after several years, I found the same promenade architectural formula with Terragni's Danteum, and here the formula is even more clear, both symbolically and formally--first the forest, then the dark concentrated interior of the Inferno, then the inside-outside realm of Purgatory (limbo), and finally Heaven with its invisible columns and invisible roof. Again, an ongoing passage of ascent leading to an ultimate goal. Form here I now see the promenade architecturale formula present in Schinkel's Altes Museum, Berlin, the Pantheon in Rome, and even along the via Triumphalis as delineated by Piranesi within the Ichnographia Campus Martius.

...a new (infringement) design for the Palais des Congrès: the columns are fattened and some are eliminated altogether; the box is raised as high as the roof bottom; level 4 becomes the open air roof; the roof "enclosure" becomes the giant auditorium raised by the forest of columns. This idea came out of a further speculation of the Palais des Congrès via Koolhaas and VPRO.

Learning from Lacuna
...Palais des Congrès scale enlarged as a grand casino (collagio).

continued idea
...the Palais des Congrès scale changed into mega hotel proportions plus collaged with other Le Corbusier models (that are scale distorted as well).

Language & Voice
A "perceptually effective sequence" is something that an architect can intentionally design. Le Corbusier did it at the Villa Savoye, which is "understandable" without referencing any literary source. Le Corbusier also did it within the Palais des Congrès (1964), Terragni did it within the Danteum (1936?), and James Stirling did it within the Museum for Nordrhine-Westfalen (1977) and within the Wallraf-Richartz Museum (1977). Sadly, none of these buildings was ever executed, hence their designs are not prominent examples within architectural history. It was precisely because of the sequences within these designs however, that prompted me to create computer models of these buildings (in the early 1990s). I also wrote several articles and essay on the "promenade architecturale" which were published at www.quondam.com (but are no longer online). My point now is that had these buildings been built, just maybe there might now be a far better understanding (and hence better teaching) of just how effective a deliberately designed architectural sequence can be.
Granted, any architect designed "preferred route" can be misunderstood or even ignored by a building's user, but that shouldn't prevent architects from at least trying to add "architectural language" to how a building is moved through.
What I find most interesting about designing architectural sequence is that the sequence itself is not actual form, rather the gaps between actual forms. For me, it's another example of learning from lacunae.

2001.09.18 12:10
Re: Is your tie straight?
In brief, beyond Savoye and Marseilles, the 'box on pilotis' motif re-occurs in the upper middle section of the Governor's Palace for Chandigarh, and later within the also unexecuted design for the Palais des Congrès a Strasbourg (1964). There are several minor examples as well. It is surely a design approach that Le Corbusier continually re-worked throughout his career, thus I see it as a more consistent application of "theory."

2001.09.19 09:04
Re: LC a (addendum)
Yes, the Palais site plan in OE (p. 153) is a preliminary version. If I recall correctly, when I was constructing the computer model of the Palais, I went to the large Le Corbusier Archive volumes to find a site plan that coincided with the large building ramp change. I'm pretty sure I found one and that is the one I used to complete the model. Indeed, part of the fun I remember in making the computer model is all the research that I had to do. In fact, there isn't a whole lot published on the building, particularly very little explanatory data. There were lots of disparate "facts" that I had to piece together before the model could be rendered as 'correct' as possible.

2003.11.07 15:36
Miralles and Pinos
Before you go holding up OMA's Kunsthal, take a good look at Le Corbusier's Palais des Congrès à Strasbourg (unbuilt, 1964), which is no doubt the precedent for the Kunsthal and MDRVD's VPRO and even OMA's Bibliotheques Jussieu.

2004.10.12 09:50
MVRDVs Serpentine
Interesting how you mention Harvard in the early 1990s because in 1991 Loeb Library purchased drawings and slides published by Arcadia-Architectural CAD Services which documented Le Corbusier's Palais des Congrès and its role in within the promenade architecturale formula.
You write, "'Ideas' are often amalgams of things recently seen morphed with things subconsciously absorbed, melded with past innovations from the cannon of well-publicized master-works." I've often wondered how many at Harvard since 1991 have "recently seen" Arcadia's LE CORBUSIER'S PALAIS DES CONGRÈS.

2004.10.13 13:08
MVRDVs Serpentine
You obviously don't know the Palais des Congrès design as well as you think you do, or else you'd see the ramp as a continuous plane that begins at street, moves through the whole center of the building, then folds back and bifurcates to become the upper level and ultimately the undulating roof plan. And all this happens within a sea of columns.

2005.05.04 13:29
...Hejduk's work (of the late 1960s/early 1970s) as a distinct creative extension of Le Corbusier's late work, specifically the Carpenter Center at Harvard, the Palais des Congrès at Strasbourg (unexecuted), and the Governor's Palace at Chandigarh (unexecuted).

2005.05.06 17:24
Koolhaas verses the Actor
Le Corbusier is just as much a reenactor as Stirling and the NY5 are reenactors. Le Corbusier reenacted machine forms and ship forms and American agricultural architecture forms. And Le Corbusier even ultimately reenacted himself--the Palais des Congrès (1964) reenacts the Villa Savoye (1929).
I don't buy the notion of there ever really being a split from the symbolic system. Degrees of separation, yes, but no real split.

2006.01.20 12:19
what is the good source to study folding architecture?
I was hoping to see or read about some architecture designs themselves. Yes, I'm aware of the literature being cited here, but none of that is the architecture.
You could very well say that the fold has been part of modern architectural design since Le Corbusier's Palais des Congrès, 1964.

2007.10.27 13:40
Collage Architecture
Note Le Corbusier's Palais des Congrès plan is within Libeskind's collages...

2008.05.29 09:27
Can you say canonical?
Moretti: Casa del Girasole (Eisenman)
Mies: Seagrams (Eisenman)
Le Corbusier: Palais des Congrès (me)
Le Corbusier: Olivetti Center Milan (me)
Kahn: Dominican Sisters Convent (me)
Venturi & Rauch: Franklin Court (me)
Stirling: Leicester Engineering (Eisenman, "Real and English")
Stirling: Nordrhine/Westfalen Museum (me)
Stirling: Wallraf-Richartz Museum (me)
Rossi: Modena Cemetery (Eisenman)
Koolhaas: Patent Office (me)
Libeskind: who cares (me)
Gehry: Wagner Residence and other residences of that era (me, just to be a bit obscure)

2008.06.25 14:23
Can you say canonical?
"Eisenman's Canon..."
Luigi Moretti, Casa "Il Girasole," 1947-50
Lugwig Mies van der Rohe, Farnsworth House, 1946-51
Le Corbusier, Palais des Congrès-Strasbourg, 1962-64
Louis I. Kahn, Adler & DeVore Houses, 1954-55
Robert Venturi, Vanna Venturi House, 1959-64
James Stirling, Leicester Engineering Building, 1959-63
Aldo Rossi, Cemetery of San Cataldo, 1971-78
Rem Koolhaas, Jussieu Libraries, 1992-93
Daniel Libeskind, Jewish Museum, 1989-1999
Frank O. Gehry, Peter B. Lewis Building, 1997-2002

2008.06.26 08:05
Can you say canonical?
Odd dyslexical, editorial mistakes on pages 88 and 89 (etc.):
On page 88, the fifth floor is depicted, yet it is labeled and analyzed as if it were the fourth floor.
Likewise, on page 89, the fourth floor is depicted, yet it is labeled and analyzed as if it were the fifth floor.
The mistake is carried through on page 91 where "...the fulcrum for the spiraling movement in the second, third and fourth floors." should actually read "second, third and fifth floors."
Additionally, what is 'interpreted' as a central stair core of the building, is actually a stacked pair of up and down escalators. The stair "core" of the building is someplace else.
And it is unfortunate that the stage set is missed altogether within the 'canonical' analysis, as it would have offered the 'missing link' of clarity to the whole figure/grid development.
Hejduk, wo bist du?
In the Introduction, Eisenman emphasizes the notion of "close reading", yet, with the series of mistakes within (at least) the Palais des Congrès analysis, I have to wonder just how closely Eisenman actually "read" these buildings and how much was simply relied upon the student analyses that the book is based on.

2008.06.28 08:47
Can you say canonical?
A close reading of Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000 very much discloses a sublimated implicit nth canonical building, videlicet Quondam, a virtual museum of architecture: 1996-. [Elaboration forthcoming most likely elsewhere.]
The stars of Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000, somewhat ironically, are not actual buildings at all, viz. the Palais des Congrès-Strasbourg (1962-64) and the Jessieu Libraries (1992-93). In the Forward, Stan Allen refers to the Palais des Congrès as a "previously somewhat overlooked building." As it happened, Arcadia's 1991 published analysis of the Palais des Congrès became one of the corner stones of Quondam. Was Koolhaas aware of Arcadia's analysis within the Loeb Library at Harvard?
In a geometrically progressive sense, Eisenman describes canonical buildings as designs which themselves manifest a close reading. Albeit requiring a 'photo-finish', Stirling wins the "architect as close reader" award, with many close seconds. Stirling perfected the reenactionary architecturism kick.
While reading/skimming through Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000, I often wish Koolhaas was the author rather than Eisenman (although Eisenman does indeed set a fine stage himself), but, alas, Koolhaas has already designed another nth canonical building, viz. OMA's Patent Office:
"Social Condenser" (1982)
"Strategy of the Void I" (Planning) (1987)
"Timed Erasures" (1991)
"Loop-Trick" (1987)
"Strategy of the Void II" (Building) (1989)
"Stacked Freedoms" (1989)
"Inside-Out City" (1993)
"Disconnect" (1994)
"Everywhere and Nowhere" (1994)
"Variable Speed Museum" (1995)
"Inertness Modified" (1997)
Tall a& Slender (1996)
Skyscraper Loop (2002)
"Cake-tin Architecture" (2002)
"The End of the Road" (2003)

2008.06.30 15:58
Can you say canonical?
Close reading really shouldn't manifest intellectual property issues.
"We understand Le Corbusier's Palais des Congrès in Strasbourg as canonical today primarily because it has sponsored several generations of work on the warped surface. In this case, Koolhaas's Jussieu Libraries confer a retrospective "canonical" status to this previously somewhat overlooked building."
--Stan Allen, 2008
Quondam, 2000.05.06

2009.03.17 17:02
pragmatists turning political?
Anyway, been meaning to interject a little exposition of the "politics of the plan".

2010.05.12 13:13
Neil Denari vs. Diller Scofido Renfro vs.
In summer 1991, Harvard's Loeb Library purchased a drawing and slide analysis of Le Corbusier's Palais des Congrès a Strasbourg.

2010.05.12 16:24
Neil Denari vs. Diller Scofido Renfro vs.
18x32, can you provide a full reference to the Kipnis "link"?
House 10: Museum (Hejduk), 1963-67
Palais des Congrès a Strasbourg (Le Corbusier), 1964
Palm Bay Congres Center, Agadir (OMA), 1990
Palais des Congrès a Strasbourg analysis (Arcadia), 1991
Deux Bibliotheques Jussieu (OMA), 1992
Educatorium (OMA), 1993-97
VPRO (MVRDV), 1993-97
Azadi Cineplex (FOA), 1996
Virtual House (FOA), 1997
Hypostyl 2000.05.60

Le Corbusier turning recombinant
There is the idea of documenting (@ Quondam) the examples where Le Corbusier reuses past building design projects for new projects. For example, the Berlin Rehab project; the Chandigarh Secretariate at Olivetti Milan; the spiral museum; the Maison l'Homme; the stage set at the Palais des Congrès...

2012.11.24 11:35
22 November
Schumacher's passage above unwittingly describes subversive reenactment. Is subversive reenactment then a key ingredient of avant-garde design? See how Le Corbusier subversively [metabolically] reenacts, via re-interpreting, the Villa Savoye.



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