Corbusier's criminally insane Plan Voisin

__SPACER__ Jeanneret proposed razing the organic street pattern of the entire Marais district in Paris and replacing it with a half baked neo-fascist masterplan, the product of excessive ego. The fact that he was deadly serious almost entirely negates the undoubted talents that he possessed.

9 Responses to “Corbusier's criminally insane Plan Voisin”

  1. TMQ Says:

    Fact check:

    1. Not the Plan Voisin (Pictured is the ‘Ville Contemporaine’)
    2. Not the Marais (more like Les Halles)
    3. Not Fascist, Neo- or otherwise (Hard to be Neo when it is contemporaneous; besides, the fascists preferred a more classicizing style. )
    4. Completely baked

    The ego and the serious part is correct, though.

  2. stultifying Says:

    Fact check check:
    1. This is the Plan Voisin. The Ville Contemporaine is the one with the airport in the middle
    2. Both the Marais and Les Halles. It’s big.
    3. The plan is polemic. He knew that there was no way it would happen, but he wanted to create a debate, which he did. The fact that people are shocked by it more than 80 years later just goes to show how creative he was.

  3. TMQ Says:

    This may all be hair-splitting, but a certain attention to detail will make the discussion more precise.

    The ‘Ville contemporaine de trois millions d’habitants’ was an ideal urban plan exhibited in November of 1922 at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. According to Le Corbusier, the project was met with stupor and remained “une parole dans le désert”. The source of the image above ( correctly identifies the model. The ‘Ville contemporaine’ was a siteless, conceptual project that LC called “un travail de laboratoire.”

    The Plan Voisin, on the other hand, exhibited in 1925 at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, was inserted into the fabric of Paris. It is essentially an implementation of the ‘Ville contemporaine’ within the Parisian context. Thus the two are closely related. But the protip is: if you see context, it’s the Voisin. An image of the plan can be seen here:
    As for the location: the plan streched from the Louvre to Rue des Archives, and in some variants all the way to Saint Lazare; you can judge for yourself whether this is “the entire Mariais district”…

    “He knew that there was no way it would happen.” This statement rings oddly false. Listen to Le Corbusier’s description of the plan: “Urbaniser n’est pas dépenser de l’argent, mais gagner de l’argent, faire de l’argent (…) Les chiffres valident cette hypothèse. Réaliser la Cité d’affaires de Paris, n’est pas une chimère. C’est, pout l’Etat, gagner des milliards en valorisant le centre de Paris.”

    By the way, they both have airports in the middle.

    More information on both projects is best sought at the source: the Oeuvre complète Volume 1. For the Ville contemporaine, page 34; or the Plan Voisin, page 109.

  4. admin Says:

    I have no doubt that Corbusier was ‘joking’ or at least being deliberately provocative with the Plan Voisin, even the name is sarcastic sounding given the regimented plan.

    However, he should be called on it. Its not like he was an amateur (actually he technically was, since he wasn’t an architect) with no intention of carrying out this form of architectural cultural cleansing.

    The lunacy of modernist master-planning resulted in people building imitations. Where is was opposed, such as the battleship brutalism of the Bloomsbury Center which would have cut a giant swath through the literary heartland of Bloomsbury and in New York, where Moses would have destroyed the West Village, the alternative is unimaginable.

    There is plenty that Corbusier did that was brilliant, the Villa Savoie is sublime, but his output is zero sum in terms of human progress. He was ultimately a clown wearing funny glasses and bow-tie, with second rate painting skills and a Swiss sense of humor.

  5. TMQ Says:

    ‘Voisin’ does not here mean ‘neighbor’; it’s the name of the company that sponsored the plan: Avions Voisin.

  6. Adam Ricketson Says:

    It looks like the type of project that would only be appealing when seen from above. I would never want to live IN it.

  7. Cthippo Says:

    If you take out the idea of razing existing neighborhoods, then it’s not that bad of a plan. The ratio of concrete to green space is fairly high, significantly higher than in most existing cities today. Nearly every building has it’s own, organic, green spaces, the design is walkable, with easy access to transportation arteries, and it makes a certain geometric sense. Kind of reminds me of lafiette’s plan for Washington DC.

  8. MTH Says:

    Do any one now why the name; “Ville Radieuse”
    I guess there was little physical difference from “Ville Contemporaine”.

  9. MTH Says:

    And why is it described as a “linear city”, when its actually a gridiron plan?

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