Civil Engineering and Architecture Vol. 10(1), pp. 112 - 120
DOI: 10.13189/cea.2022.100110
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Le Corbusier's Modulor: Anthropometric Myth

Julio Lorenzo-Palomera , Carlos Fuentes-Pérez *, Yolanda Aranda-Jiménez
Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, Autonomous University of Tamaulipas, Tamaulipas, México


Since its two publications, 1948 and 1953, the Modulor has been incorporated as an anthropometric and human proportion reference until today as part of the design process heritage. Therefore, reliable metric information sources are needed, real data-based, useful in the architectural design process. Using documentary research, this critical essay deconstructs Modulor's attributes as a reference to the human scale, as it is based on a fanciful abstract drawing but not on real population stature measurements. Le Corbusier sought to justify the 2.20 meters height fitting to the human scale only considering an arm raised humanoid figure. Anthropometric databases are used from different sources, some French, where wide samplings indicate that height measurements considered by Le Corbusier's advisers, 1.75 and 1.83, do not correspond to population mean stature, 1.60-1.69, when the Modulor was made up. It was considered, in France, from the beginning of the physical anthropology of which anthropometry is a part, 18th century, until the trends of the 20th century. In addition, data from other countries during the 19th and 20th centuries also has through Le Corbusier´s lifespan. Human height is a variable measure, not standard. People can be 2.00 tall (Netherlands, 1996) or small, 1.49 (Guatemala, 1996). Neither the standing nor the seated body width was studied anthropometrically at all. Modulor besides is an excluding metric model in gender and ages. No more databases were analyzed, but those studies offer enough contrast between the abstract (Modulor) and the concrete (real people) height measurements. A large sample design, based on mean measure, is an erroneous criterion because it applies only to a population's small range. That is what Le Corbusier established with the Modulor to be the measure of all things but with fixed standard. Therefore, it is recommended to check other sources to corroborate it. The Modulor is a myth, so it is recommended to stop including it like a database or an anthropometric manual. As a human-scale option, it might be helpful for design learning as an incorrect criteria example.

Le Corbusier, Modulor, Myth, Stature, Anthropometry

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Julio Lorenzo-Palomera , Carlos Fuentes-Pérez , Yolanda Aranda-Jiménez , "Le Corbusier's Modulor: Anthropometric Myth," Civil Engineering and Architecture, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 112 - 120, 2022. DOI: 10.13189/cea.2022.100110.

(b). APA Format:
Julio Lorenzo-Palomera , Carlos Fuentes-Pérez , Yolanda Aranda-Jiménez (2022). Le Corbusier's Modulor: Anthropometric Myth. Civil Engineering and Architecture, 10(1), 112 - 120. DOI: 10.13189/cea.2022.100110.