Born as Charles Jeanneret in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small town of Neuchâtel canton in northwestern Switzerland, just across the border from France, Le Corbusier was attracted to the visual arts and studied under the tutelage of the teacher at the local arts school, Charles L'Éplattenier , who had himself studied in Budapest and Paris. He himself designed his earliest houses, like the Villa Fallet , the Villa Schwob , and the Villa Jeanneret (the latter of which was for his parents) in La Chaux-de-Fonds. These houses recall the indigenous mountainous vernacular architectural styles popular in the Alps. Frequently in his early years he would escape the somewhat provincial atmosphere of his hometown by travelling around Europe. In about 1907 he travelled to Paris, where he found work in the office of the French pioneer in reinforced concrete, Auguste Perret, and between October1910 and March1911 he worked for the renowned architect Peter Behrens near Berlin, where he met a young Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and became fluent in German. Both of these experiences proved influential in his later career. Later in 1911 he would journey to the Balkans and visit Greece and Turkey, filling sketchbooks with renderings of what he saw, including many famous sketches of the Parthenon, whose forms he would later praise in his work Vers une architecture (1923). He moved to Paris permanently at the age of 29 in 1916 and in 1920 adopted "Le Corbusier", slightly altered from his maternal grandfather's name "Le Corbesier", as a pseudonym.Le Corbusier died in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in France
Le Corbusier was heavily influenced by the problems he saw in the industrial city of the turn of the century. He thought that industrial housing techniques led to crowding, dirtiness, and a lack of a moral landscape . He was a leader of the modernist movement to create better living conditions and a better society through housing concepts.
Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of To-morrow heavily influenced Le Corbusier and his contemporaries.
Since his death, Le Corbusier's contribution has been hotly contested. At the level of building, his later works expressed a complex understanding of modernity's impact, yet his urban designs have drawn scorn from critics.
"the extravagant heights of Le Corbusier's skyscrapers had no reason for existence apart from the fact that they had become technological possibilities; the open spaces in his central areas had no reason for existence either, since on the scale he imagined there was no motive during the business day for pedestrian circulation in the office quarter. By mating utilitarian and financial image of the skyscraper city to the romantic image of the organic environment, Le Corbusier had, in fact, produced a sterile hybrid" (Yesterday's City of Tomorrow).
Le Corbusier's views on urban planning have also been largely discredited for encouraging the design of public plazas that are viewed by many as being sterile and divisive of urban space. The public housing projects influenced by his ideas are seen by most as having had the effect of isolating poor communities in monolithic high-rises and breaking the social ties integral to a community's development. One of his most influential critics has been Jane Jacobs, who delivered a scathing critique of Le Corbusier's urban design theories in her seminal work The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The city of Brasilia, currently the capital of Brazil, is a planned city based exlusively on the principles of Le Corbusier. Unfortunately, Brasilia is considered by most urban planners to be a colossal failure.