Lowcountry Modern

Iconic Building of the Month | October 2016 | Villa Savoye à Poissy

Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier, Poissy, France, 1931.

In honor of Le Corbusier's birthday (October 6, 1887), this month's Iconic Building of the Month features his Villa Savoye.

Located in the outskirts of Paris, France. Villa Savoye was by designed Le Corbusier in collaboration with Pierre Jeanneret, a cousin, and built using reinforced concrete.

In his 1923 book, Vers une Architecture, Le Corbusier outlines his Five Points for a new architecture.

  • Pilotis (it's French for stilts) – use of columns instead of load-bearing walls as the structural system.
  • Free plan – the absence of supporting walls means the interior spaces are unrestrained.
  • Free Façade – pilotis allow for the free design of the façade.
  • Ribbon windows – allowing for even illumination and ventilation.
  • Functional Roof – serving as a garden and terrace, it reclaims the nature and land occupied by the building.

The villa is the manifestation of Le Corbusier's five points for a new architecture, and is one of the most easily recognizable and renowned examples of the International style. While not completely alike, when I was first introduced to this house, it reminded me of the beach houses along the South Carolina coast.

The house was designed and built as a rural retreat by the Savoye family. In 1958 it became property of the French government, and after surviving several plans of demolition, it was designated as an official French historical monument in 1965 (while Le Corbusier was still living). It underwent a thorough renovated from 1985 to 1997, and is now open to visitors year-round.

Just this July, Villa Savoye and 16 other buildings by Le Corbusier were added to UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

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