An analysis of Le Corbusier’s “Le Villa La Roche-Jeanneret”
Le Corbusier’s modernist residence which was built in Paris, 1923, has become one of the most widely recognized examples of what could be argued as a residential home, a project often considered as the pivotal point of an architect’s career. Designing and building a personal dwelling allows the architects freedom to manifest their sense of individuality, and in Corbusier’s case, the opportunity to build the ultimate modernist home with his brother. Corbusier’s house is said to represent many ideologies, but above all, it should be seen as the fundamental home for living. Due to its mythical and modernist features, it questions its functionality as a house and could be seen as a house of study. Although, when designing the house, Corbusier’s initial intentions was for the house to be seen as “the house is a machine for living”. [Le Corbusier, 1927. Pg 4]
Before the ‘meaning’ of the house can be argued, the background of the building must be established. Villa La Roche consists of two houses; both which contain the ideas of the modern world. Villa La Roche is located in Square du Docteur Blanche in the southern part of the sixteenth district of Paris, near Bois de Boulogne. It was built during 1923 and 1925 and typically modern in style. The right hand side was built by Corbusier’s brother, whilst the left hand side was built by Corbusier himself for the dwelling of a doctor; both parts of the villa, contain strict languages of modern architecture through the usage of modernist features e.g. the dramatic forms such as concrete flooring, ramps instead of stairs etc.
Fig 1. An original sketch drawing of the left hand side of the Villa showing the key features of the Villa.
Fig 2. A photograph of the left side of the Villa.
Architecturally, the villa has many distinct qualities. Materially, it makes use of reinforced concrete, iron, glass and stone (including veneer, brick, cement and so on) with a dramatic form. These sorts of materials are associated with the qualities of what makes a modernist house. Having said this, the villa also points to the aesthetic of Modernism through the inclusion of the recognisable icons such as the slight curve on the left side of the villa; which makes it interesting, abstract and attention-grabbing. The villa emits luminosity as well as clarity, precision and weightlessness. Luminosity is radiated through the alluring whiteness of the façade; a whiteness that could be described as blindingly bright. The colour of the façade was chosen by Le Corbusier due to its purity. It produces a harmony that also circumscribes the green of the foliage and the blueness of the sky. As Corbusier points out that “If the house is completely white, then this high lights the design of its various components.” [Le Corbusier: Le Villas La Roche-Jeanneret, 1997, Pg 30]
The materials used become ‘object trouves’, a Duchampist phrase meaning objects are only viewed as beautiful because of the emphasis placed upon them and the context they are placed within. Further influence of Le Corbusier, “Still Life”, early 1920’s can be seen through its notion, which is the idea of architectural promenade deals with senses, self expectations etc, of which Le Corbusier experimented for the first time in the Villa la Roche, offers the advantage of being directly perceptible by the visitor. All the stratagems developed by Le Corbusier have a single aim; which is to rouse the senses of the visitor. The types of materials and its placements give Corbusier’s Villas a clear dialect form, aligning with Corbusier’s conclusion which explains his reasons behind the materials he used “But, since there is no need for all four sides of the house to be in glass, I will not only construct glass walls, but also stone walls, and walls with openings like portholes in the stone sides of the building.” [Le Corbusier: Le Villas La RocheJeanneret,...
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Marshall, Andy. 2008, Fotofacade Architecture: Architectural Photography
Glynn, Simon. 2002. Galinsky “People enjoying buildings worldwide: Villa La Roche
Fig 1. Corbusier, Le. (1923) Original sketch drawing of the left hand side of the
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