ABSTRACT

Le Corbusier’s shifting affiliations between democratic capitalism, democratic socialism, communism and, most ignominiously, the fascism of and before Vichy portray but do not illuminate his thinking on capital. The shifts are symptomatic of his search for a political mechanism to bring his larger project-nothing less than the mythic-economic recalibration of man’s relation to material through architecture-into the world. This recalibration entails the wresting of material from its servitude to commodity and the consideration of economy beyond profit and loss as a totalizing system of human and natural exchange. His desire for a “naked” material production-production that will simultaneously impact daily life and transcend economic and aesthetic concern-motivates his self-critique of his own plans in The Contemporary City and the l’Esprit Nouveau and delivers that critique in the form of The Radiant City and The Unité d’Habitation.