CATTt ANALYSIS:

LE CORBUSIER'S 5 POINTS

 

To see if cyber-history and CATTt analysis were useful in articulating method experiments that could be applied to contemporary issues to help generate new methods, I decided to analyze an example method experiment from Le Corbusier's career to inform a way of working on and presenting my ongoing design research. The first step was to choose a method experiment that was pertinent to my own current tasks, so that the materials contained in both the CATTt Generator inputs and outputs correspond fairly closely with with relevant inputs for my own experiment, allowing the analytical process to serve as a guide for contemporary efforts. One experiment that met the criteria was Le Corbusier's Five Points Towards A New Architecture, conceived alongside his longtime collaborative partner and cousin Pierre Jeanneret in 1926.

 

The Five Points was a wildly popular and influential presentation of Le Corbusier's architectural modernism. The most persuasive aspect of this experiment was its format: 5 simple tenets that are easy to remember but summarize the directives and possibilities of a new and appropriate way of working with industrial materials in architectural applications. The 5 points are: 1 - The supports, or separation of load-bearing from non-load-bearing elements; 2 – The roof gardens, obtained through use of flat roofs; 3 – The free designing of the ground-plan (obtained through point number 1): the walls and partitions don't need to supply structural support and thus can take any form and be made of any material; 4 – The horizontal window (also a product of point 1): the exterior walls do not need to bear any loads, so windows can and should stretch across their whole length where view and lighting are desired; 5 – Free design of the facade, which does not bear loads and can thus take any form or material to best match and articulate the free-plan. § Given the popularity and effectiveness of the 5 Points, the format was appropriate to my own nascent method experiment, validating exploration of the other CATTt components that went into its production.

 

Through close reading of Le Corbusier's publications that explore his proposed architectural modernism preceding the appearance of the 5 Points in 1926 (many of which are conveniently collected in his popular book Vers une architecture ‖), the first results of CATTt analysis reveal a common issue with this application of heuretics and the CATTt Generator components as an analytical tool: instances of historical method invention will usually feature more than the 5 necessary CATTt component inputs: the inventor will have attempted to use (and document) many inputs for each component of the CATTt. This messiness underscores the need for Ulmer's search for common material in method production in order to simulate inventio: the processes of invention are obscure and thus haphazard, calling for a set of tools and techniques - a rhetoric – to serve as our guide to navigate them more effectively. These circumstances result in our need to sift through multiple CATTt inputs to best formulate the operative material in any precedent method experiment. The inputs are thus debatable. With this in mind, I propose one possible CATTt Generator input-set for the Five Points Towards A New Architecture to be:

 

  • [C]ontrast: Beaux Arts classicism

  • [A]nalogy: Machine Aesthetic – Form following function in engineering

  • [T]heory: traditional vernacular forms

  • [T]arger: architects and architecture students

  • tale/tail: 5 points

 

 

 

§ Le Corbusier and P. Jeanneret, P. 1926. 'Five points towards a new architecture.' In U. Conrads (ed.), Programs and Maniferstoes on 20th-century Architecture. MIT Press: Cambridge, 2002, 99-101.

 

‖ Le Corbusier. 1923. Vers une architecture. Éditions Crès: Paris.