• Le Corbusier's Response to World War II: Les Maisons Murondins
    Mary McLeod

Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, working drawing of a "Murondin" house, 1940, from Le Corbusier, Les Constructions "Murondins" (Paris and Clermont-Ferrand: Chiron, 1942). Reproduction, including downloading of Le Corbusier works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artist Rights Society (ARS). © F.L.C./ADAGP, Paris/ARS, New York 2015.

This project examines Le Corbusier's response to the devastation of World War II, focusing on his little-known proposal for refugee housing, the Maisons Murondins. Le Corbuiser actively promoted the Murondins as a means for the Vichy government to mobilize French youth. In contrast to the Maisons Dom-ino scheme, his response to World War I, which used modern construction materials and techniques, the Maisons Murondins were conceived as temporary shelters, to be constructed by local youth groups of readily available materials, such as pisé (mud), tree trunks, and branches. His concerns with regionalism and grass-roots participation in the Murondins scheme can be linked to his immersion in the 1930s to a small political movement Regional Syndicalism, some of whose members, including Le Corbusier, became involved with the Vichy government. In addition, the project can be seen as representing a shift in Le Corbusier's work toward a more primitive, organic aesthetic.

Mary McLeod is a professor of architecture at Columbia University, where she teaches architectural history and theory. Her research and publications have focused on the history of modernism and on contemporary architectural theory, examining issues concerning the connections between architecture and ideology. She has written extensively on Le Corbusier's architecture and urban planning, and is the editor of and contributor to the book Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living. She is also coeditor of Architecture, Criticism, Ideology and Architecture Reproduction, and is currently coediting a website on pioneering American women architects. Her essays have appeared in magazines such as Assemblage, the JSAH, Casabella, and Oppositions, as well as in books, such as Architecture School: Three Decades of Educating Architects in North America, Modern Women, Architectural Theory since 1968, Le Parole dell'Architettura, and Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes.