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A dialogue between Victor Hugo, Ayn Rand and Charles-Édouard Jeanneret

Part 2 Dissertation 2014
Catherine Griffiths
University for the Creative Arts | UK
The humanities are beginning to retrogress with little known about why art has such a significant and personal effect on man. We are in a time when architecture is either seen as engineering for commodity or as ‘art’ in the sense of a purposeless assembly of sculptural forms. The objective of the dissertation is to understand the true notion of art, before it was considered a form of therapy, commodity or entertainment; to understand the way in which art was used to create a new architecture; and to in turn understand how it could be used today to aid in creating a new architecture for the future.

Three characters in particular are explored to aid in this endeavor, Victor Hugo, Ayn Rand and Le Corbusier. Hugo, a nineteenth century poet and novelist, is considered one of the greatest French writers; Rand, a twentieth century Russian born writer, moved to the United States where she developed a philosophy that brought her controversial fame; and Le Corbusier, a pioneer of modern architecture of Swiss descent.

Two of these figures share an art; two share a time period; and two are respected as “genius” but one would struggle to find a clear correlation among all three on first sight. The dissertation however, unravels such a correlation in the lines of thought of each of the three protagonists. Through the critical exploration of key texts behind the oeuvres of each artist, the respective positions on the meaning of art is examined. By unfolding the parallels of their thoughts a shared underlying philosophy is revealed, which can be traced back to the Romantic Movement of the nineteenth century.

Catherine Griffiths

Gabor Stark
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