adopted his pseudonym in the 1920s, deriving it in part from the name of a distant ancestor, Lecorbésier. But in the absence of a first name, it suggests a physical force as much as a human being. It brings to mind the verb courber, to bend, and, of course, Le Corbusier was a great bender of townscapes to his own will. It also brings to mind le corbeau, the crow or raven, not a conventionally beautiful bird in plumage or song, but one that is simple and unornamental in both and therefore, metaphorically speaking, honest and undeceiving, as Le Corbusier claimed his architecture to be. In French, le corbeau has a further meaning: that of a bird of ill omen—and perhaps that is the architect’s little joke upon the world."
|Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man|
|Le Corbusier's Modular Man|
The first Modulor Man was based on the height of the average Frenchman, but was later revised to accord with the standard height of attractive men in English detective novels. At least in the second case the base was a professedly fictional standard. The very name, "Modular", evokes "modular", or interchangeable, the very image of Pruitt-Igoe, the design of which was inspired by Le Corbusier's architectural principles. He considered the Modulor scale to be one capable of uniting the Metric and Imperial scales, creating universal equivalency.
One of Le Corbusier's early projects was the Domino House. It is a very simple, practical design, but also one in which interior layout is customizable within the overall form. The name evokes the image of dominoes stacked and arranged to build a small structure, but also recalls the variety of ways dominoes can be combined and recombined within the overall structure or rules of the game--the very essence of modularity.
Perhaps we've found the fetish-object?