Marcelo Gardinetti

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    Le Corbusier Curutchet House: the beginnings

    Marcelo Gardinetti
    Sep 14, '23 5:44 PM EST

    Doctor Pedro Curutchet wrote to an architect living in the city of Buenos Aires to design his future home/office, but the architect did not respond to his request. The architect's lack of interest and his desire to create a work that would incorporate the spatial qualities of the unique enclave led him to search for an architect who could express the spirit of modernity, such as Le Corbusier.

    Curutchet prepared a dossier containing the cadastral plan, photographs of the site and a letter expressing his intention to commission him, together with a brief programme of requirements: three bedrooms with two bathrooms, a service bedroom with toilet, a living-dining room and a garage, as well as the consulting room and waiting room. Curutchet was particularly concerned to enhance the views from the living room and bedrooms onto the tree-lined boulevard 53 and the forest: "the sun and the panorama must be incorporated into the house".

    The file travelled to Paris in the hands of his sister Leonor, accompanied by their mother. Le Corbusier received it in his studio on 2 September 1948, and five days later he replied to Curutchet's request: "I have taken note of the file and have said that I am prepared to respond to your request in the following way: I will draw up a first draft in accordance with your programme and send it to you for your consideration and amendments. I will then draw up the final draft and send it to you. Finally, I will draw up the execution plans "..." The execution of the work will be supervised by one of my friends in Buenos Aires, whom you can choose from among those I will give you. These are architects who are able to control the plans I draw up and who fully understand their spirit".

    For Le Corbusier, this work was an opportunity to reaffirm the possibility of realising the Master Plan for Buenos Aires. This work of territorial transformation had its origins in the "Citte des Affaires" project, a group of buildings on a platform on the Río de La Plata, which he presented in one of the lectures he gave during his trip to Argentina in 1929. After his departure, Le Corbusier insisted on his "Argentinean friends" for several years without success. In 1937, with the arrival of Jorge Ferrari Hardoy and Juan Kurchan in his studio, Le Corbusier renewed his interest in the plan. The proposal of the Master Plan for Buenos Aires was presented in the Rue de Sévres studio to the authorities of the Argentine Embassy in France and to members of the Argentine community living in Paris, but it did not elicit the reactions he was looking for. In 1947, however, the Argentine architect Jorge Ferrari Hardoy managed to publish part of the plan in the April issue of "La Arquitectura de Hoy", and this publication aroused the interest of the authorities, who created the Office for the Study of the Plan of Buenos Aires (EPBA) under Ferrari Hardoy's direction a few months later.

    In a letter dated 7 September, Le Corbusier set out the terms of the contract and the amount of his fee, which Curutchet accepted on 16 September 1947.

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Entendemos la arquitectura como un hecho cultural que se expresa mediante operaciones de representación formal. Por tal motivo, encarna un tipo de producción que no necesariamente requiere de la técnica constructiva, sino que expresa su intención a través de ideas y símbolos.

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