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Monday, January 24, 2011

Le Corbusier's Villa La Roche

Corbusier employed a powerful use of color

Text and Images via

Built in a private Paris courtyard, the house had major constraints imposed by the site and its zoning restrictions, including a north orientation, existing trees and height and boundary limitations.

In 1923, wanting to give his collection a suitable context, La Roche commissioned his friend Le Corbusier to build a residence in Auteuil in the west of Paris. Today it is considered one of the founding icons of Modern Architecture. Among its most salient features are the large vestibule with its several views as it extends through the house from top to bottom; the interior colour scheme; and the gallery space, set at right angles to the body of the building, for which Le Corbusier’s first made use of stilts (pilotis) to raise a structure off the ground. In designing the villa for La Roche, Le Corbusier spoke for the first time of a promenade architecturale, which was to become a key concept of his œuvre. The La Roche Villa immediately attracted widespread attention upon its completion; it was soon visited by such people as architect Adolf Loos, artist Fernand Léger, architectural historian Sigfried Giedion, and all those interested in the New Architecture. In fact, the house drew so many visitors that Raoul La Roche officially opened it to the public for two days a week. When he returned to Basel in 1962, he gave the villa to the Fondation Le Corbusier.

Villa La Roche is one of Le Corbusier's most sophisticated pieces of spatial architecture.  One of the most powerful ideas to devlelop out of modern architecture was the use of the section to study spatial relationships within the oveall composition of the buildings sequence.  Interlocking spatial volumes ie cantilevers, ramps, bridges, balconies that are all within the main spaces, allow for a truly dynamic experience - unlike traditional homes it is not about square footage but more about the ability to look into connected spaces.  Circulation throughout the spaces provides an experiential sequence that asks the visitor to not only project where he is going but to also reflect upon where he has come been.  This reflective philosophical voyage is very apropos for the time where through technology and industry humankind was to better themselves - coming out of the slums of poverty into clean new housing environments and the ability to travel around the world.  Corbusier was known for stating that the house was a machine for living.  This utter belief in the power of the machine to lift man up is seen throughout much of his work.  - Ecomanta