Maison La Roche – Foundation Le Corbusier
The old enamelled signs that flank the simple black iron gates announce that Square du Docteur is a private passage; Voie Privée.
This is where the intrigue begins.
A short gentle stroll to the end of the leafy private lane reveals one of Le Corbusier’s most elegant designs in Paris, Maison la Roche, which also serves as the Foundation Le Corbusier.
Sitting high off the ground on Le Corbusier’s renowned stilts made from concrete poles, allowing for parking space underneath the modern, innovative home with sweeping curved lines and large open spaces, Maison La Roche was far ahead of it’s time.
Modern, innovative and controversial is usually what sums up architect Monsieur Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris or as he became known as simply, Le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier, a Swiss born, naturalised Frenchman changed his name to a derivation of his grand-father’s around the time it was trendy among the arty folk to be known as one name, a handle or perhaps a brand.
The mere mention of his name can start a debate of admiration or disapproval and polarize people.
However, most will agree and grant him the title of the father of modern architecture.
Basel born Swiss banker, Albert Raoul La Roche met Le Corbusier in 1918 and their mutual love for purist paintings resulted in a long standing friendship and the commission of Maison La Roche.
Designed by cousins Le Corbusier and Pierre Jenneret in 1923 and completed in 1925, enabled La Roche a home where he could display his vast and growing collection of modern art.
La Roche’s home also gave Le Corbusier an opportunity to incorporate his minimalistic chrome plated, tubular steel furniture.
A roof-top deck, upper floors overlooking open voids, banks of windows lining the walls, allowing light throughout and the long sweeping ramp, joining the upper levels to the living area below are all trademarks of Le Corbusier which set him apart and earned him his name.
I doubt that Le Corbusier is high on the average tourist’s agenda, there was only a handful of people waiting to gain entry with me and I suspect they were architectural students.
We slipped on the blue plastic booties on offer to cover our shoes to protect the flooring and then keenly went about discovering and observing the modern architecture of Le Corbusier’s famous designs.
Although this may be one of Le Corbusier’s more modest designs and certainly not one of his massive concrete urban public housing developments, this architect did begin a new movement and had an impact on modern architecture.
La Roche bequeathed his villa to the Foundation Le Corbusier, which is now a historical listed monument and is an iconic tribute to modern architecture.
A visit to Maison La Roche can be combined with a visit to the star studded surrounding architecture of the 16th arrondissement, including Hector Guimard’s – Le Castel Béranger.
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Below you can read about my discovery of the 16th arrondissement:
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