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January 31 , 2011

Towards Universality

Le Corbusier, Mies and De Stijl


There is no shortage of books about Le Corbusier, or Mies van der Rohe, or De Stijl. However, this book considers them in relation to each other, observing how a study of one can illuminate the works of the others. Going beyond a superficial look at the end-products of these architects, this book examines the philosophical foundations of their work, taking as its central theme the aim of universality, as opposed to the individual and the particular.

Each of these three aimed at universality, but for each this concept took on a different form. The universality of De Stijl and artists like Van Doesburg and Mondrian resembled that of the universe itself: it was boundless, going beyond the limits of the canvas and seeking to abolish the wall as the boundary between interior and exterior space. In contrast, each of Le Corbusier’s creations was a self-contained universe within a clear frame, while Mies fluctuated between these two perspectives.

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