Art: Corbu

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From a distance they are magnificent, but on closer inspection, some observers find them disturbing. Says Michigan's Architect Minuro Yamasaki of the High Court Building: "In India, I thought, everything is elegant and refined; but here was something crude. I thought this building should have elegance and be proud, too. But it is a fist instead of a hand." Architect Paul Rudolph of the Yale School of Art and Architecture disa grees. "As time goes on," says he, "everyone will understand the importance of Chandigarh; people will go there as they now go to the Piazza San Marco."

Timeless Image. People already go by the thousands to another Corbu master piece: the Chapel of Ronchamp, which crowns one of the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. It is a place for pilgrimage, a looming form that commands the entire countryside from horizon to horizon. Ronchamp is architecture as pure image, and few images more powerful or more timeless have ever been placed before the eye. It is strange that a man who has shown so few signs of religious feeling should have produced so awesome a place of worship. But this is no odder than the fact that the loneliest of men should have dreamed of Utopian cities, or that one so dedicated to the machine has, in the end, produced an architecture that scarcely depends on the machine at all. Corbu turned his .paintings into architecture, his architecture into sculpture, until "the body of the building is the expression of the three major arts in one."

He may be the coldest of the titans of his time, but he will perhaps have left the warmest legacy. "Architecture," he once said, "goes beyond utilitarian needs. You employ stone, wood and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces. That is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart. You do me good and I am happy and I say, 'This is beautiful.' That is Architecture. Art enters in."

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