Hannes Meyer and Le Corbusier, alternative visions for the Palace of the League of Nations (1926-1927)

The Charnel-House

The League of Nations competition, 1927: Contemporary architecture comes to the front

Sigfried Giedion
Space, Time, and
Architecture
(1938)

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The 1927 international competition for the League of Nations Palace at Geneva is one of the most illuminating episodes in the history of contemporary architecture. For the first time present-day architects challenged the routine of the Academy in a field which it had dominated for generations, the design of m0numentally impressive state buildings. The Academy won this particular engagement, but its victory injured the prestige of its methods.

The conventional routines showed themselves incapable of producing architectonic solutions to problems of modern organization. The proof of that helplessness did much to break down popular resistance to modern treatments.

It was plain from the start that, among the 337 projects submitted, one — the work of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret — was peculiarly important and significant. Later developments verified this first judgment.

What made…

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