Drawing Conversations: Letters to Clients

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


In October 1925 Le Corbusier wrote to his client Madame Meyer a remarkable letter about his proposal with Pierre Jeanneret for her villa. It combined drawings with a highly scripted text that carefully guided her through each space, from the entrance to the roof garden. Like the pioneers of early cinema, imagery was subtitled by words. Produced by the architect’s own distinctive hand, the letter was peppered with self-deprecating humour. He warned Madame Meyer about the entrance not being in the middle, ‘would this bring the wrath of the Academy down on our heads?’ and that ‘this project is not something dashed off between phone calls by some studio draughtsman’. The letter is both a flirtatious love letter from architecture, and a revealing testimony into the mechanisms and labours of realising a design. The project emerges, he tells us, out of ‘total confusion’ into ‘the initial lines of the composition’: from pure idea into the realm of the physical, and the handmade. A building only becomes possible as part of a human chain of relationships, circumstances, hopes and uncertainties, and is born into in the hands of the imperfect world of builders.
Original languageEnglish
TypeDiscussion on architect's letters to their clients from Le Corbusier and Jose Oubrerie
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished online - 26 Oct 2022


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