Le Corbusier's Postcard Collection: Poetical Assemblage as a “Porous” Classification System

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Luis Burriel Bielza


Le Corbusier collected about 2,300 postcards throughout all of his life but he never showed them to anyone, keeping them in the intimacy of his apartment. They are nowadays held in the archives of the F.L.C., filed by geographic origin. However, this system is not suited to unravel its signification. As opposed to a mere “classification”, we would like to present the concept of "poetical assemblage": the meaning of each postcard is studied not only by the subject it portraits, but through its relation with other items in the collection and even further, through its confrontation with other tools the architect employed to understand the world: painting, sketching, writing, photographing, and his architectural projects. Instead of creating a linear and univocal analytical system, the “poetical assemblage” brings an open system composed by four different “sections” which should be understood as four spheres with porous and diffuse limits able to interact. This research reveals the varying possibilities engaged in this approach. They have been summarized in three main goals which are intermingled in growing degrees: inspiration, education and verification. A whole array of graphic examples will provide evidences of the capacity of the architect to synthesize subjects and concepts regardless time and space. Stability and transition are the guiding keys to jump from image to image and from panel to panel, at the same time evoking the tradition and building the present.


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