Wednesday, August 26, 2020


  Villa Savoye is a modernist villa in Poissy, on the outskirts of Paris, France.

Owner :  French Government

Architect :

 Le Corbusier and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret                                                                                                     Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (6 October 1887 – 27 August 1965), known as Le Corbusier was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades, and he designed buildings in Europe, Japan, India, and North and South America. Pierre Jeanneret (22 March 1896 – 4 December 1967) was a Swiss architect who collaborated with his cousin, Charles Edouard Jeanneret, for about twenty years.

“the house is a machine for living in.”

Introduction :

• A modernist villa in poissy; the outskirts of Paris.

• As the last purist villa, it is an attempt of reconciliation between the Platonic attributes of nature and man.

• Designed and constructed between 1929 and 1931 by Le Corbusier and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret.

• Named “Les Heures Claires” by Le Corbusier.

• Commissioned as a private country residence by Pierre and Emilie Savoye in 1928. They came from a wealthy Parisian family that ran a large and successful insurance company and owned land in the town of Poissy. 

• Le Corbusier noted that his clients were: ‘quite without preconceptions, either old or new’ and only had a vague idea of what their future country house should look like. 

• Is recognized as the most faithful to his five points of architecture. 

• The Villa has become an icon of Le Corbusier’s ideals and methodology. 

Site : • Grove of trees shields from strong winds, while allowing sunlight

     • Patio receives breeze from SW in summer. It is sheltered from cold NW wind in winter. 

Architectural style : Modernist, International

Located at : Poissy, Yvelines, France.

Construction started : 1929

Construction completed : 1931

Concept :

• Purist and cubist approach

• First floor deliberately raised off of the ground so that it (as Le Corbusier put it) will be out of the wetness and damp of the earth, raising its gardens as well to provide healthy and dry garden space. 

• The textures, materials, colours and methods of emphasis of the horizontality, juxtaposed with the upward climb of the ramp and staircase combine to create an atmosphere that draws the visitor through the space.

• Facade reduced to a screening function, a skin, lending to a feeling of the structure being lighter or weightless, a principle heavily looked at by the Bauhaus at that time.

The design features of the Villa Savoye include :

•“The Five Points of Architecture”

• Modular design - the result of Le Corbusier’s research into mathematics, architecture (the golden section), and human proportion. 

• No historical ornament 

• Abstract sculptural design

• Pure color - white on the outside, a color with associations of newness, purity, simplicity, and health (Le Corbusier earlier wrote a book entitled, When the Cathedrals were White), and planes of subtle color in the interior living areas.

• Dynamic , non-traditional transitions between floors - spiral staircases and ramps.

• Integral garage - the curve of the ground floor of the house is based on the turning radius of the 1927 Citroen. 

• Inspiration from greek architecture - basic elements of classical architecture transformed. 

• Inspiration from steam ships and locomotives.

Forms :

Villa Savoye is an exploration in the use of primary forms, using rectangles, cylinders, and cubes. Le Corbusier started with a cubic volume and eroded elements to create the final form. Villa Savoye takes structural inspiration from the Domino Structure, characterized by planar slabs connected by a dogleg staircase. In the Villa Savoye, a ramp was added along with the staircase.

Five main building elements :

1) Pilotis :

2) Free facade :

• The columns are set back from the facades, inside the house. 
• The floor continues cantilevered. 
• The stilts that support the structure allow for non-supporting walls. 
• The facades are no longer anything but light skins of insulating walls or windows. 
• The facade is free.  

3) Ribbon windows :

• Reinforced concrete provides a revolution in the history of the window. 
• The second floor of the Villa Savoye includes long strips of ribbon windows that allow views of the large surrounding yard and is inspired from steam ships. 
• These strips of elongated windows allowed for impressive views of the exterior and let in a great amount of natural light – providing expanded illumination and ventilation. 

4) Open floor plan : 

• Previously, the load-bearing walls formed the structure not allowing flexibility. 
• Now, like the free facade, the open floor plan is made possible by the system of supporting stilts. 
• The open floor plan, relieved of load-bearing walls, allow walls to be placed freely and only where aesthetically needed.  

5) Roof terrace :

Functions : 
The house occupies a site in Poissy, a small commune outside of Paris, in a field that was originally surrounded by woodland. Designed as a weekend holiday home for the Savoye family. The house was originally built as a country retreat for the Savoye family. The Villa Savoye is a revolutionary building because it was designed to be functional and to revolve around people's daily lives. With its systematic efficiency, lack of ornamentation, and clean lines, the Villa Savoye exemplifies Purism and Le Corbusier's desire to simplify design.

Building elements : 
These include pilotis that lift the building up above the ground, a flat roof that could serve as a garden and terrace, open-plan interiors, ribbon windows for light and ventilation, and a free facade independent of the load-bearing structure. A row of slender reinforced concrete columns supports the upper level, which is painted white. The lower level is set back and painted green like the surrounding forest to create the perception of a floating volume above. The lower level is dedicated to the maintenance and service programmes of the house, while the living spaces are located on the upper level. Strips of windows – a common feature in Le Corbusier's work – are designed to open by sliding over each other and are placed in the middle of the facade on the upper level to bring in as much light as possible. A series of ramps, as well as a sculptural spiral staircase, connect the two floors, and are intended to provide a gradual movement between levels. On the first floor, a large sliding glass wall opens the living spaces to an outdoor terrace. From here, a ramp leads to rooftop garden, which is encased by curved walls. A large triangle of windows offers views from the ramp to the spaces inside.

Plans, Sections, Elevations :

Conclusion :

1. five points
2. golden ratios
3. purist style
4. basic forms used - cuboids and cylinders
5. machine and technology incorporated (esp. cars) - curve corresponding the turning radius of citroen.

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