Last Sunday, UNESCO added 17 buildings designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier to its world heritage list. The modernist buildings span seven countries: France, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Japan, India, and Switzerland, where there are two.
The modernist architect Charles Edouard Jeanneret, who adopted the nickname Le Corbusier, was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchatel in 1887. He spent much of his life in southern France and died in Nice in 1965 at the age of 77 while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.
He designed numerous buildings in Switzerland, however only two made it on to the UNESCO list. The first is a house called Villa Le Lac, which he designed for his parents on the shore of Lake Geneva in Corseaux near Vevey in the 1920s. The second is an apartment block of 50 apartments, called l’Immeuble Clarté on rue Saint-Laurent, in Eaux-Vives in Geneva, which was built in the early 1930s.
Le Corbusier is an important figure in Swiss history and his picture is on the current Swiss 10 franc note.
Anyone who has studied architecture will have studied his work which broke with the past at a time when new methods of construction were being developed. Looking at his buildings today it is sometimes difficult to believe they were designed nearly a century ago.
Villa Le Lac is open to the public and can be visited from 1 July to 28 August : Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm or by appointment.
- Discovering the Swiss architect Le Corbusier (Le News)
- Le Corbusier – should he still be on the Swiss 10 franc note? (Le News)
Unfortunately, other than viewing it from the street, it is not possible to visit l’immeuble Clarté in Geneva. According to ATS, Rémy Pagani, who works for the city of Geneva, is going to discuss with the city’s management the possibility of buying an apartment within in the building, with help from the federal government. This apartment would be opened to the public for viewing.
20 Minutes article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
Villa le Lac website (in English)
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