A Modern Digital Utopia of Architecture


Year: 2009 Vol: 3 Number: 18


This essay problematizes Le Corbusier’s ‘universal’ scale, baptized as the Modulor, in context of the body and the city. Within this model, the human body which is reduced to measures and to a masculinity that has become a norm, is being utilized to constitute a visual power relation with the earth. The supposed presence of mathematics within nature, makes the autocratic normativism a model. Yet, one can be reminded that even universality is culturally conditioned. In opposition to Modulor’s pythagorean assertions, the proportional systems in architectural history do not constitute a linear convention. Symbolic numbers are being utilized by the body closing apparatus. The aligning diagram produces gigantic generalizations. Static bodies, rather than bodies in relation or movement are the objects of framing. Order of boxing is the framing law for the city. While the question what will happen to the unideal bodies remains unanswered, biopolitics becomes apparent. While the search for a harmonized, pleasing, naturalist city normalizes the masculine body, ‘others’ are being utilized. What makes the Modulor an allegory of biopolitics is that it proposes a modern architectural utopia based on a linear (or hierarchical) organization rather than a body without organs.

Le Corbusier, Modulor; Biopolitics; Masculinity; Normalization

Click for Turkish (Türkçe)