A tour of Le Corbusier’s home


If you’re curious to see what the home of Le Corbusier was like, I’ve put together a slide-show on YouTube to show the apartment he built at the edge of Paris, at 24 Rue Nungesser et Coli, or 24NC as Le Corbusier called it.  For those of you who’ve read my novel ‘Loving Le Corbusier’ then you will perhaps understand why Yvonne was reticent about moving here in 1934. The apartment faces a sports ground, which is now enclosed by a sub-Bird’s Nest superstructure, but there are still distant views to the centre of Paris from the roof – a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, the monolithic Montparnasse Tower – but they seem far away. At the rear of the block, the dining room overlooks the leafy surrounds of Boulogne-Billancourt towards the distant hillsides beyond. It’s a world away from their cramped home in Rue Jacob in Saint-Germain and it’s easy to see why Le Corbusier adored it – space, light, nature, not to say a rather wonderful studio space. But I’m not sure that Yvonne ever loved it.

What do you think? Could you live there?

Categories: Architecture, Travel, WritingTags: , , , , , ,

7 comments

  1. Having read your lovely book I really enjoyed that! I don’t think I could live there. It seems incredibly chilly – but maybe that’s because the apartment isn’t inhabited so there are no rugs or throws or much colour to warm it up. Do people ever live in it or is it kept as a sort of museum?

    • Yes, it’s not what one (but not LC) would term cosy although photos of the time show it to be much more colourful – paintings on the wall, rugs, lovely fabrics. It’s certainly in need of a bit of care as there are damp patches and peeling paint but the expense would be pretty huge. I think it’s only used as a museum/curio or for Fondation Le Corbusier events, and people are always staggered by the stadium directly in front and the huge Saint-Germain football stadium next to that. Must be blimin’ noisy at times…

  2. Fascinating slideshow, Colin! (Not sure what I enjoyed most, the slides or the songs…;-) ) I can see a huge amount of influence of Le Corbusier on the French apartments of today. There is a starkness that is very modern, yet somehow timeless.

    • I rather got into French songs from the 1930s and 40s when I was writing the novel – they’re usually so jaunty! Yes, the ‘look’ continues – the bare walls and tiled floors, perhaps, which is popular over here, too.

  3. Thank you for all those photos! A perfect accompaniment to your descriptions in ‘Loving Le Corbusier’.
    I felt a bit panicked approaching the flat – it all seemed rather narrow.
    I suppose the overall feeling for me is ‘hard’, though you are quite right, judging from the old photos of when they actually lived there it would have been full of art etc.
    I did love the look of the studio – all that space. And then you see him actually in the studio and it is a crowded shambles! Artists!
    Great to have the visuals. Thank you!

    • Glad you enjoyed them. It’s a fascinating place to visit and you really wonder why he didn’t want to have a lift going right to his door – it’s something Yvonne ponders in the novel. The final staircase is very narrow and low, but it reminds me a little of Frank Lloyd Wright who liked to tuck front doors out of sight and then have a low-ceiling in hallways so that you got the full drama of a double-height space. The studio space is magnificent – flooded with morning light, which was when he painted. Old photos of the flat (or flats – it’s never entirely clear) in Rue Jacob show a similar jumble, which I love, given everyone thinks of his spaces being rather minimalist!

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