Cartesian skyscraper

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The Cartesian sky-scraper, designed by Le Corbusier in 1938, is a type of tower known for its modern and rational design.[1][2] This type of modern administration building has its origin in the first sketches for the Pavillon de L'Esprit Nouveau in 1919, which proposed a cruciform shape for skyscrapers, radiating light and stability. In principle, the cruciform plan (with two axes) does not adapt itself to the path of the sun, which has only one axis.[3] Studying further, it was seen that with this symmetrical form about two axes, the cruciform skyscraper does not receive sunlight on its north-facing sides.

As a result, a new form was introduced: the "chicken claw". Many bays were inserted along both axes in its plan, allowing for more light and air. With this everything became more alive, more true, more harmonious, more supple, and more diverse.[citation needed] Cases for its application were found in the plans for Anvers-Rive-Gauche, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Manhattan, etc. Such a form and its dimensions become a true urbanistic work, the fruit of modern techniques. The innovation right from the start was to oppose the purely formal and romantic conceptions of American skyscrapers (with their pyramidal forms and needle-like terminations).


  1. ^ Deckker, Thomas (2000). The Modern City Revisited. Hoboken, NJ: Routledge. pp. 75–78. ISBN 9780203992036. 
  2. ^ Stoppani, Teresa (2012). Paradigm Islands: Manhattan and Venice: Discourses on Architecture and the City. Routledge. pp. 120–132. ISBN 9781135718954. 
  3. ^ Bacon, Mardges (2003). Le Corbusier in America : travels in the land of the timid. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 150–156. ISBN 9780262523424. 

Abalos, Iñaki; Juan Herreros; Joan Ockman (December 2003). "The Theoretical Contributions of Le Corbusier" (PDF). Tower and office: from modernist theory to contemporary practice (cloth). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. p. 400. ISBN 0-262-01191-3. [dead link]

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