"Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep."
Le Corbusier (1897 - 1965)
A striking white modernist structure is tucked into the Square du Docteur Blanche, a stark contrast to the traditional stone chimney-topped townhouses. Built in the early 1920's, in the residential 26th arrondissement of Paris, Maison La Roche is a glimpse into the innovative world of designer Le Corbusier. (This is a definite "don't miss" for any designer visiting Paris.)
Charles Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier (a brilliant bit of personal branding) was a Swiss-French painter, architect, industrial designer, and writer who played a decisive role in the development of modern architecture.
Le Corbusier's architectural philosophy was elegant, simple and functional. He wanted houses to be as useful as machines. Maison La Roche is a perfect example of his principles at work:
- Roof garden on top of the house, the consequence of a flat roof.
- Columns that raise the house above the ground.
- A "free" plan, unencumbered by structural partitions.
- A similarly "free" facade, free of decoration.
- Strip (continuous, horizontal) windows, which provide maximum illumination to the house.
Much of the furniture is gone (no sign of the famous LC 4 Chaise Longue), but there's a dining room table surrounded by four Thonet chairs.
Le Corbusier's modernist-style still life paintings still hang on the walls.
You can even see his paint swatch tests on the walls in several of the rooms...it's like a glimpse into his thought process.
Le Corbusier deftly stripped down the architecture of his time, not only reinventing the way homes looked, but the way they were lived in.
Truly an inspiration.
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