Maison Citrohan, 1922, by Le Corbusier


The Citröhan Mansion, within three basic prototypes (Domino, Monol, Citröhan) created by Le Corbusier to build housing that could be built in series like machines, was the most developed throughout his career.
It is one of the basic themes of Le Corbusier’s interest in industrialization and new forms of housing from which was expected to emerge a logical and economic house for all.
His visual experience (ouvrir les yeux) was taken from and area of popular bars in Paris: two parallel walls, two stories below an attic and having a great free entry point of light. Le Corbusier recognizes the strengths in a simple formulation, especially its ability to create a large space, which, added to the free plan of achieved in their previous work with the structure Domino, and beams and pillars of reinforced concrete, and the staircases not perforating the floors, follows a strict logical construciton.
[edit] Concept

This prototype reflects in its name the clear purpose that guided its design. Le Corbusier called it Citröhan Mansion and also referred to it as “the machine of living.” These are obvious ways to address their main concerns in relation to the house that could be built in series, such as cars. Prefabrication was even suggested, to reduce its utilization or minimize the equipment necessary for the building of houses, in short, they were immitating the concept of assembly line manufacturing of cars, ships and planes.
[edit] 1920 First version

The Citröhan Mansion 1 (1920) consisted of three overlapping floors. The ground floor houses the living room and dining room in front and kitchen and service areas to the rear. On the first floor was the master bedroom and accompanying bathroom, to be an intimate balcony space above the space of the two-story living room. The second floor contained two individual bedrooms and minimal bathrooms in the rear and the garden terrace at the front, which had the possibility of reaching the roof. The land occupied by the house was relocated to the roof. This terrace garden then became one of the five key principles of the early days of Le Corbusier.
The three levels of this cell were linked by a stairway that stood along one of the walls.
The origin of this prototype house with a double story living room lies in the Parisian studios of painters and artists of the time, which used to have a studio with twi-story windows overlooking the North (but no sun light), and the bedrooms as part of the second story above the workshop.
After this typical object, chosen for use and tradition, Le Corbusier began a process of successive purges in search of his ideal model. The 1920 version had its large two-story windows facing the industrial woodworking district and narrow vertical panels, as was found in anonymous Parisian studios. Moreover, the central pure volume of the house had two additions: the diagonal line of the staricase and the top floor forming the two additional bedrooms.
[edit] 1920 Second version

The exterior staircase is absorbed by the main volume in a formal synthesis tends to reaffirm the primacy of that, becoming interior. Inconsistently with that gesture synthesis, Le Corbusier test the removal of the metal pergola on the terrace which tended to emphasize a principle of total recovery, bringing the upper body of the bedrooms, in merging with it, put it in crisis . This contributes to some extent the addition of eaves supported by thin pillars that takes all the height of the main facade.

[edit] 1922 Third version

In 1922 appears third version of the house Citröhan presenting a fundamental innovation. All the cell, as was described above, is raised on piles, thus generating a low floor to floor level to house service functions: garage, shed, etc.
Makes its appearance in the second trial of the five principles mentioned above: the house off the ground supported on piles. The cell also prepared, appears surrounded by a perimeter balcony, which will not appear in later versions. The case of the balcony can see clearly how Le Corbusier, in successive stages of the process of finding a solution purified, then used to test elements finally dismissed in the interests of its own design of a conceptual and formal synthesis. The balcony, which constituted an accessory that hindered their search for a pure volume and closed, will be removed from their examples of domestic architecture.

[edit] 1925 Fourth version

In 1925 he was introduced to Le Corbusier the first opportunity to build their cell Citröhan. The industrial Frugés test series offers its proposal to build a neighborhood for workers and employees of their industry in the town of Pessac. The resulting cells are grouped fourth version, this time economic prototype.
The deal led to a solution of affordable housing in its real terms, Le Corbusier, reduces the prototype eliminates the double height and has the elements of the cell to a minimum. The prototype is the most common of two cells linked by their back wall, back to back, so to speak.
The ground floor of small proportions, and the game does not allow the pilotis funny. In one hall is going to open a closed hall (possible garage), which part of the staircase, this time crossed over to the longitudinal axis of the cell, which rises to the first floor. When you reach the top, the staircase between the dining-being of small size, the cuisine and service. On the second floor, the stairs turn separates the two bedrooms, occupying the entire plant, leaving no room for double-height of the above examples. The only bathroom was reduced to minimum dimensions.
From the point of arrival of the ladder you reach a landing outside, from which another staircase, this time outside, leads to the terrace. It has two parts: one is covered with concrete and other alero discovered, which sets the terrace garden itself. The large window that corresponded to the double-height does not exist: it is replaced by two elongated windows in horizontal direction across the whole width of the front, one in the area and the other for the master bedroom. Here, for the first time in the cell Citröhan, another of its fundamental principles, the long window.

[edit] 1927 Fifth version

In 1927, Le Corbusier, is invited to the exhibition of the famous Weissenhoff in Stuttgart occasion for its fifth version of the prototype, in every sense the most refined of the series. The constituent elements are the same ones that had the third version of 1922, but refined and enriched by a greater design flexibility.
The ground floor units of access and freedom is resolved, after the curtain pictures of piles through a route with outgoing volume semi. On the first floor are the usual environments, kitchen and service are resolved with utmost simplicity using three partitions, two of which are curved, and a home center. The second floor is reserved as usual the master bedroom and boudoir balconeante. The use of curved walls can fully address the design of the bathroom less compartmentalized. This fifth version is remarkable in more ways than one. Strict compliance with the functional program, the complete resolution of all compositional elements resources extremely simple, set a time of completion within the series. While through the examples we saw the importance it attaches to Le Corbusier the proper resolution of operational problems as a starting point for an architectural proposal applies in this case the employees to arrive at that decision and a summary constructive total plastic .
Stuttgart are fully mature in the five-point policy of Le Corbusier. The use of the piles, roof garden and the long window, as known, are added now open plan and the facade off.
The plant is self-evident in the total plasticity and functionality that manages its walls with straight or curved, with total independence of the supportive role exerted by the thin pilotis. The facade of freedom allows the emergence of large double-height windows of the side windows and a small oblong-shaped balcony pulpit, according to the functional needs of the program. In fact, as we shall see later, the facade meant to free Le Corbusier the possibility of freeing the enclosure wall bearing functions, to sort the full and empty on the basis of criteria geometric compositions.
The total volume, finally, is being rebuilt as a pure parallelepiped without departing through a beam that runs along both sides of the terrace free, virtually rebuilding the primary form.
We therefore, through the development of the Maison Citröhan as meet with perfect consistency conceptions of Le Corbusier: from an object type that acknowledges its roots in Parisian home studio, a prototype is made, which Through a process of successive purges, leads to a synthesis that is the “perfect solution”, the ideal model for the resolution of the universal problem.

[edit] Spaces

It should be noted the influence of the space, with the opening of the hall to the outside and cut separation between the rooms, forcing the tour to explore all the construction, free plasticity of internal fences, furniture, often concrete or embedded as part of the house, the contrast between the housing and other basic structural elements of enclosure, and so many other issues that make this house one of the milestones of modern architecture.

[edit] Structure

Frame-up skeletons of concrete on site, the lathe. Membrane walls 3 inches, cement projected on deployed palastro, leaving a gap of 20 centimeters.
The slabs of the floors in the same module, lines of racks window factory windows with the same useful module. According to the provision of family life: abundant light according to the destination of the rooms, the needs of the health benefit, the servants treated with respect.
Citrohan at home, the location of the windows is especially subtle and can measure the height of the plants, thanks to the boom endiduras post, and imagine the role of the rooms, thanks to the previous windows and openings of different sizes .
The pillar structure of 0,25 x0, 25mts leaves including a light-free 2.5 meters in the longitudinal and transverse direction in 5mts, allowing modulated and industrialization windows 1.1 x2, 5mts. In parallel to the body that hosts the holidays (5×11.75mts) is placed, without fragmenting the forged ladder 0.95 meters wide. The height of the pillars, beams between 0.25 meters singing, is 2.2 meters.

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