José Oubrerie Tribute (1932-2024)

José Oubrerie left us yesterday at 91. A great spirit and inspiration dedicated to architecture, he inspired generations of students with his passionate teaching and immense knowledge, carrying on the work of Le Corbusier as the last living collaborator. He completed the Church at Firminy with such verve and brilliance as to carry the work of Le Corbusier to another level.

Church at Firminy, France

As an accomplished painter, the relation of his paintings to his architectural work also carried on a rare spirit important to remember today in the relation of art and architecture. This was an example for his students where he taught at many schools, including The Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, and Columbia University, where together with Kenneth Frampton, he showed a direction for architecture during a time of great confusion.

 Chapel of the Mosquitoes, 2015. ‘T’ Space, Rhinebeck, NY. Photos © Susan Wides.

Now at a time where architecture seems to have drifted into commercial activity with firms of hundreds of people, he reminded us that in the office of Le Corbusier, at the end there were only six employees including José. His dedication to architecture came with a jolly sense of humor and enormous bank of stories, which shall be passed down by many as dedicated as he was.

– Steven Holl