Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier (1887-1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International style. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in his 1930s. He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. Later commentators have criticized Le Corbusier's monoliths as soulless and expressive of his arrogance in pioneering his form of architecture. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, and one each in North and South America. He was also an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and modern furniture designer. Le Corbusier adopted his pseudonym in the 1920s, allegedly deriving it in part from the name of a distant ancestor, Lecorbésier. However, it appears to have been an earlier (and somewhat unkind) nickname, which he simply decided to keep.