Le Corbusier – What moves us?
Report by International Chapter Council Vice President, Janine Campbell
Australian Architect and Urban Designer, Glenn Harper recently presented a paper at the international conference ‘Le Corbusier – What moves us…?’. This took place at Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark on 19-20 November 2015. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Swiss Architect’s death and the birth of Aarhus School of Architecture, the conference focussed on Le Corbusier’s reception of his works and theories in Scandinavia. Glenn’s paper, titled ‘A Graphic Trist: Le Corbusier, Utzon and The Sydney Opera House 1957-1966’ further considered Le Corbusier’s influence on Jørn Utzon and his graphic imagery for The Sydney Opera House.
Glenn’s paper argued that when working on the Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon sought inspiration in the graphic imagery of Le Corbusier. This manifested in the limited publication of three oblong folios: the Red Book (1958), the Yellow Book (1962) and the unofficial Blue Book (1962). In each of these Utzon applied various graphic techniques ‘learnt’ from Le Corbusier (notice, for example, that the illustrated front cover of the Red Book had a cut-out silhouette of the building on a background of vermillion, both a technique and a colour much used by Le Corbusier). When in Sydney, Utzon would continue to be inspired by Le Corbusier and the importation of a left-hand drive ‘Citroen’ was of no coincidence. From Utzon’s various encounters with Le Corbusier, Glenn argues that Utzon was able to find new allegorical and ‘graphic transgressions’ in the representation of his Sydney Opera House.
Glenn Harper is a Senior Associate at PTW and previously worked for Peter Myers Architect in Sydney. In London, Glenn had the opportunity to work on the design of the British Library for Colin St John Wilson and Partners. Glenn is a long term member of the RAIA (NSW Chapter) Heritage Committee and is a current recipient of the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship.