Swiss architect, arguably one of the most important protagonists of the International Modern Movement. A cousin of Le Corbusier, he joined the office of Perret in Paris, and, from 1921 to 1940 worked with Le Corbusier on architectural designs, town-planning schemes, and ideas for furniture and other artefacts. Their office was a magnet for the aspiring young, not only because of the well-publicized Modern Movement designs produced there, but because of the Modernist polemics (a few of which were signed jointly by both men, including the Five Points of Architecture, the basis for their theory of design), which were published at the time. Their combined efforts produced paradigms of the Modern Movement, including the Villa Besnus, Vaucresson (1922), the Pavillon de L'Esprit Nouveau for the Exposition Internationale des Arts-Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris (1924–5), the houses for the Weissenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart (1927), the unrealized project for the League of Nations Building, Geneva (1927), the Maison Stein, Garches (1927–9), the Villa Savoie, Poissy (1928–31), the Centrosoyus Building, Moscow (1929–33), the Cité de Refuge, Paris (1929–33), the Maison Suisse, Cité Universitaire, Paris (1930–3), and the Apartment House Clarté, Geneva (1930–2). These designs were jointly produced, although Jeanneret-Gris seems to have been more closely involved in resolving details and supervising construction. Both men participated in debate and in meetings and events that helped to form the ideology of Modernism, such as CIAM (from 1928) where Jeanneret-Gris was always vocal, but the latter was deeply interested in Rationalism and industrialized building, while Le Corbusier seems to have esteemed them more for emotional or symbolic reasons.
After the Fall of France in 1940 the two men went their separate ways, not least because the authoritarian Le Corbusier had strong affinities with, and leanings towards, the pro-Nazi Vichy regime. Jeanneret-Gris established an office in Grenoble where (with Prouvé and others) he designed prefabricated systems for housing. He returned to Paris in 1944, and designed (1946–7—unrealized) a large apartment-building which anticipated Le Corbusier's Unités d'Habitation, although the apartments were planned to permit more daylight to enter the interior than Le Corbusier was able to achieve. However, his collaboration with Le Corbusier was re-established when he began to work with him, Fry, and Drew (1951) on plans for a new capital of the Punjab at Chandigarh, India, and supervised the construction of the monumental designs by Le Corbusier, including the Supreme Court. He himself designed numerous buildings there, including hospitals, housing, offices, schools, and shops, as well as the grander State Library, City Hall, Governor's Palace, and much else, often working with Indian colleagues. From 1961 he worked on the new University of the Punjab. In particular, he experimented with non-mechanical methods of environmental control.
Jeanneret-Gris's achievements have been obscured by those of Le Corbusier, who was the more charismatic publicist, but it is clear that he was of enormous importance in the genesis of the paradigms with which the name of Le Corbusier is solely and unfairly associated in the popular mind.
Bulletin d'information architecturales, cxiv (1987);Design, viii/9 (1964), 17–24;Kalman (1994);Jeanneret-Gris & Jeanneret(1999);Placzek (ed.)(1982);Progressive Architecture, xlv/2 (1964), 148–53;A. Roth (1977);Werk , lv/6 (1968), 377–96; see also Further Reading after the entry on Le Corbusier.