Last week, the SAPV program invited author, William J. Curtis, to participate in a two week intensive history course for the students consisting of lectures, tours, and sketching exercises. Last week introduced some big names including Mies, Wright, Alto, and of course Corbusier, with me tagging along for the tail end of the week for tours of La Maison Suisse, Maison de Brazil, and Corbu's Apartment. How surreal to experience all these buildings once again now with a better knowledge of architecture accompanied with quirky and thought inspiring narratives from a man who probably knows more about Corbu than anyone else in the world. Curtis' book is apparently one of the most acclaimed in the realm of modern architecture and has been written in a dozen languages (both legally, and illegally). What's more, it was crazy to hear him chat over lunch about the stirs he's created in the profession as an architectural crit (especially when he needs to 'bring out the big guns'.... namely the controversy over the new Steven Holl building near the Glasgow School of Art). What was even more shocking (considering most items on the agenda were about buildings abroad) was his final lecture on Corbu's Carpenter Center on Harvard's campus. He explained that he got into this whole historian gig from that very building where he was given Corb's sketches, plans, etc. and was to piece together the reasoning behind the man and the design. What's surprising is that Adam and I happened upon this building this summer as we were out visiting friends in Boston literally 2 weeks after breaking the news to everyone we were moving to France. And here, we had no idea Corb even had anything in the US. Nope, only this. And there we were, taking pictures on his ever-so-monumental ramp, the exact place William himself used to tell all his friends to meet him before galavanting around town. The world is all linked in very crazy ways.....
Part two of intensive history week will continue this spring where Curtis will pick up with trips at Ronchamp, La Tourette, and others.
Discussion at the Maison Suisse
Left: Hanging out at Maison Brazil before lecture.
Right: Lecture at Corbu's apartment