The year of Le Corbusier


I’m aware that this site is beginning to look like one dedicated only to Le Corbusier but you must allow another post to celebrate the news that UNESCO has added 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings to its World Heritage List, meaning buildings of international significance. These buildings are:

(with links to my written pieces)

  1. Petite maison au bord du lac Léman in Corseaux, Switzerland, 1923 – 1924
  2. Cité Frugès, Pessac, France, 1924
  3. Maison La Roche-Jeanneret, Paris, France, 1923 – 1925
  4. Maison Guiette, Antwerp, Belgium, 1926
  5. Weissenhof Estate, Stuttgart, Germany, 1927
  6. Villa Savoye et loge du jardinier, Poissy, France, 1928
  7. Immeuble Clarté, Geneva, Switzerland, 1930
  8. Immeuble locatif à la porte Molitor, Paris, France, 1931 – 1934
  9. Unite d’habitation, Marseille, France, 1945
  10. Usine Claude et Duval Factory, Saint-Dié, France, 1946
  11. Maison Curutchet, La Plata, Argentina, 1949
  12. Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, 1951
  13. Complexe du Capitole, Chandigarh, India, 1952
  14. Maison de la Culture, Firminy, France, 1953
  15. Couvent Saint-Marie de la Tourette, Evreux, France, 1953
  16. Musée National des Beaux-Arts de l’Occident, Taito-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, 1955
  17. Notre Dame du Haut chapel, Ronchamp, France, 1950 – 1955

It’s a wonderful outcome for those who love his buildings, to know that they will be carefully conserved for the future. And it will no doubt draw a new audience to view them, and that is not half bad. It still surprises me when I meet people – educated people – who have never heard of Le Corbusier. When I’m researching important buildings for my Iconic Buildings series on Blueprint for Living, I am forever coming across architects who have been influenced by Le Corbusier. He is, as people like to say these days, still very much part of the conversation, and that’s what UNESCO has recognised.

Entrance facade

Entrance facade, Villa Savoye

So whatever you think of raw concrete, flat-topped houses and strangely-shaped churches, I hope you join me in celebrating the news, and if you haven’t done so already, then do make a detour sometime to visit one of the great works of this clever, confusing, infuriating and utterly wonderful architect. (And yes, most of the buildings appear in my novel Loving Le Corbusier.)

Categories: Architecture, TravelTags: , , , , , , , , , ,

12 comments

  1. It really is the year of Le Corbusier!
    And you are right there in the zeitgeist with your novel!
    Fabulous!

    • Modulor was his version of Vitruvian man and occupied his mind for decades. He wanted to create a standardised measurement system for his buildings and it was a revelation to him when he changed the measurement from metric to imperial – the 6 foot man. Everything in his Unite d’habitation conforms – from the height of the kitchen benches to the small bar on the doors that provides a resting place for the elbow when sitting on the step to the balcony. As with all things mathematical, my brain tends to freeze when I read about it but I happily accept other people’s appreciation of its workings, which included Einstein.

  2. How fantastic! I hope it translates into lots of sales of your lovely book. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never visited any of his buildings but I love the look of Ronchamp. I think that’s the one I’d pick out to see.

  3. Viva le corbu! He definitely ignites the fire in me during my studio days in architecture.

    • I totally agree. When I write about architectural icons for the radio, so many times they refer back to Le Corbusier. He was such an innovator and I love the way his work provokes so much emotion in people – from those who blame everything wrong about modern architecture on him to those who have walked through his buildings and felt the integrity of his ideas. Did you train as an architect, by the way? I think Le Corbusier would have loved the use of colour in your artworks.

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