Villa Savoye, the best known work of the French-Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, was built between 1928 and 1931. Villa purists say that this icon of the Modern Movement completes the cycle of white houses.
With this 'Living Machine', Le Corbusier sets in place the 5 five-points of new architecture (the theory provides the basis of the Modern Movement): pilings, roof terrace, open plan, window bar and open facade.
In addition to these 5 points, the first modernist architects favour expensive ornaments and a minimization of decor.
Nowadays, the Villa Savoye has become a 'museum' of impeccable whiteness, yet it almost disappeared altogether. During World War II, the villa was badly damaged, in 1962, after years of neglect, the first salvage work was carried out under the direction of the Minister of Culture at the time, André Malraux. In 1997, after three phases of restoration, the house was opened to the public.
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The chapel Notre-Dame-du-Haut, built by Le Corbusier between 1951 and 1955 on the hill Bourlémont, Ronchamp (France), was commissioned by the Dominican friars.
At the time, the chapel’s architecture surprised a great number of architects and architectural critics who saw Le Corbusier as one of the fathers of functionalism who swore allegiance only to the right angle. Its round shapes inspired by the Vosges hills (audio visual) and the animal world (crab shell for the roof), appeared to them to be a betrayal of the theories of modern architecture.
The art historian, Nikolaus Pevner, who defined the Modern Movement in architecture in 1936, describes the Ronchamp chapel as evidence of new irrationalism.
THE LOST BET, 2019
This fiction imagines the Convent of the Tourette, abandoned and entirely covered with vegetation, giving birth to a new unique work of art, where nature and culture come together in a harmonious whole.
The Tourette convent built by Le Corbusier between 1956 and 1960 was commissioned by the Dominican friars. The vocation of the Dominicans being to preach, their convents are often located in big cities, contrary to other orders which have for vow to isolate themselves. Eager to get closer to Lyon, the brothers chose a site about 30 km northwest of the metropolis, betting that the latter, constantly growing, would one day join the convent . . . it never happened.
This fiction imagines The Notre-Dame-du-Haut chapel built by Le Corbusier between 1951 and 1955 on the Bourlémont hill in Ronchamp, entirely covered with three paintings painted by Le Corbusier on the walls of Villa E-1027 located in Roquebrune Cap Martin.
Some Anglo-Saxon critics qualify the pictorial intrusion at E-1027 as symbolic "rape". The frescoes are in oppositon to the concept of purist architecture by Eileen Gray based on pure volumes and solid colors, and the ideas of Le Corbusier himself, for whom architecture could not be "decorated", seeing in the artist an enemy of architecture, destroying and disqualifying the wall. He called on architects to use only polychromy.
Le Corbusier had a daily practice of painting alongside his career as an architect. His ideas on mural painting will gradually evolve, no doubt, influenced by Picasso, Fernand Léger and his desire to synthesize the arts.
We can see in the architecture of Notre Dame Du Haut an evolution similar to that in his painting, after a purist beginning influenced by the industrial motif, Le Corbusier will be inspired by forms from the natural world.
The church is part of a commission of several buildings made to Le Corbusier, by Eugène Claudius-Petit, mayor of the town of Firminy. The project, baptised 'Firminy-Vert', forms the largest architectural complex built by Le Corbusier in Europe. This site includes: a cultural centre, a stadium, a swimming pool, a housing unit and the Church of Saint-Pierre. Construction of the church began in 1970, five years after the death of the architect. Due to budgetary and political problems, the project experienced many disruptions. By 1978, only the substructure was built and for 30 years this base, nicknamed the 'blockhouse', remained cut off from the rest of the building.
THE BEEHIVE, 2016
L'unité de Briey, built between 1959 and 1960, is the fourth of five of the Le Corbusier housing units. The unit began experiencing difficulties rather quickly. An economic crisis plunged the inhabitants into serious financial problems. The building gradually became empty and was on the point of being dynamited in 1984. In 1989, under the sponsorship of international architects and artists, the organisation 'First Street' contributed greatly to the rescue of the l'unité de Briey. A renovation was carried out in 2007 and will be completed in 2010.