The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement

 Argentina
 Belgium
 France
 Germany
 India
 Japan
 Switzerland
N46 28 6.29 E6 49 45.61
Date of Inscription: 2016
Criteria: (i)(ii)(vi)
Property : 98.4838 ha
Buffer zone: 1,409.384 ha
Ref: 1321rev
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Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites comprising this transnational serial property are spread over seven countries and are a testimonial to the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past. They were built over a period of a half-century, in the course of what Le Corbusier described as “patient research”. The Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh (India), the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo (Japan), the House of Dr Curutchet in La Plata (Argentina) and the Unité d’habitation in Marseille (France) reflect the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20th century to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society. These masterpieces of creative genius also attest to the internationalization of architectural practice across the planet.

Chosen from the work of architect Le Corbusier that survives in eleven countries on four continents, the sites in seven countries on three continents, implemented over a period of half a century, for the first time in the history of architecture attest to the internationalization of architectural practice across the entire planet.

The seventeen sites together represent an outstanding response to some of the fundamental issues of architecture and society in the 20th century. All were innovative in the way they reflect new concepts, all had a significant influence over wide geographical areas, and together they disseminated ideas of the Modern Movement throughout the world. Despite its diversity, the Modern Movement was a major and essential socio-cultural and historical entity of the 20th century, which has to a large degree remained the basis of the architectural culture of the 21st century. From the 1910s to the 1960s, the Modern Movement, in meeting the challenges of contemporary society, aimed to instigate a unique forum of ideas at a world level, invent a new architectural language, modernize architectural techniques and meet the social and human needs of modern man. The series provides an outstanding response to all these challenges.

Some of the component sites immediately assumed an iconic status and had world-wide influence. These include the Villa Savoye, as an icon for the Modern Movement; Unité d’habitation in Marseille as a major prototype of a new housing model based on a balance between the individual and the collective; Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut for its revolutionary approach to religious architecture; the Cabanon de Le Corbusier as an archetypal minimum cell based on ergonomic and functionalist approaches; and the Maisons de la Weissenhof-Siedlung that became known worldwide, as part of the Werkbund exhibition.

Other sites acted as catalysts for spreading ideas around their own regions, such as Maison Guiette, that spurred the development of the Modern Movement in Belgium and the Netherlands; the Maison du Docteur Curutchet that exerted a fundamental influence in South America; the Musée National des Beaux-Arts de l’Occident as the prototype of the globally transposable Museum of Unlimited Growth which cemented ideas of the Modern Movement in Japan; and the Capitol Complex that had a considerable influence across the Indian subcontinent, where it symbolized India’s accession to modernity.

Many of the sites reflect new architectural concepts, principles, and technical features. The Petite villa au bord du Léman is an early expression of minimalist needs as is also crystallized in the Cabanon de Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier’s Five Points of a New Architecture are transcribed iconically in Villa Savoye. The Immeuble locatif à la Porte Molitor is an example of the application of these points to a residential block, while they were also applied to houses, such as the Cité Frugès, and reinterpreted in the Maison du Docteur Curutchet, in the Couvent Sainte-Marie-de-la-Tourette and in the Musée National des Beaux-Arts de l’Occident. The glass-walled apartment building had its prototype in the Immeuble locatif à la Porte Molitor.

A few sites inspired major trends in the Modern Movement, Purism, Brutalism, and a move towards a sculptural form of architecture. The inaugural use of Purism can be seen in the Maisons La Roche et Jeanneret, Cité Frugès and the Maison Guiette; the Unité d’Habitation played a pioneering role in promoting the trend of Brutalism, while the Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut and the Capitol Complex promoted sculptural forms.

Innovation and experimentation are reflected in the independent structure of concrete beams of the Maisons de la Weissenhof-Siedlung, while pre-stressed reinforced concrete was used in the Couvent de La Tourette. In the Capitol Complex, concern for natural air-conditioning and energy saving led to the use of sunscreens, double-skinned roofs, and reflecting pools for the catchment of rainwater and air cooling.

Standardisation is seen in the Unité d’Habitation de Marseille, a prototype intended for mass production, while the Petite villa au bord du Lac Léman set out the standard for a single span minimal house, and the Cabanon de Le Corbusier presented a standard, minimum unit for living. The modulor, a harmonic system based on human scale, was used for the exterior spaces of the Complexe du Capitole, which reflect the silhouette of a man with raised arm.

The idea of buildings designed around the new needs of ‘modern man in the machine age’ is exemplified in the light new workspaces of Manufacture à Saint-Dié, while the avant-garde housing at the Cité Frugès, and the low-rent Maisons de la Weissenhof-Siedlung, demonstrate the way new approaches were not intended for a tiny fraction of society but rather for the population as a whole. By contrast, the Immeuble Clarté was intended to revolutionise middle class housing. The Athens Charter, as revised by Le Corbusier, promoted the concept of balance between the collective and the individual, and had its prototype in the Unité d’habitation, while the Capitol Complex, the focal point of the plan for the city of Chandigarh, is seen as the most complete contribution to its principles and to the idea of the Radiant City.

Criterion (i): The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier represents a masterpiece of human creative genius, providing an outstanding response to certain fundamental architectural and social challenges of the 20th century.

Criterion (ii): The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier exhibits an unprecedented interchange of human values, on a worldwide scale over half a century, in relation to the birth and development of the Modern Movement.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier revolutionized architecture by demonstrating, in an exceptional and pioneering manner, the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier marks the birth of three major trends in modern architecture: Purism, Brutalism and sculptural architecture.

The global influence reached by The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier on four continents is a new phenomenon in the history of architecture and demonstrates its unprecedented impact.

Criterion (vi): The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier is directly and materially associated with ideas of the Modern Movement, of which the theories and works possessed outstanding universal significance in the twentieth century. The series represents a “New Spirit” that reflects a synthesis of architecture, painting and sculpture.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier materializes the ideas of Le Corbusier that were powerfully relayed by the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) from 1928.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier is an outstanding reflection of the attempts of the Modern Movement to invent a new architectural language, to modernize architectural techniques, and to respond to the social and human needs of modern man.

The contribution made by the Architectural Work of Le Corbusier is not merely the result of an exemplary achievement at a given moment, but the outstanding sum of built and written proposals steadfastly disseminated worldwide through half a century.



Suggested bases:

Argentina

La Plata is the capital city of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. It is placed on the “pampa húmeda” (wet pampas), 56 km south-east of Buenos Aires city, at 34º 55′ south latitude and 57º 17′ west longitude. It covers an area of 940.38 km² and it’s at 9.87 m above the sea level. La Plata was designed around a central axis marked by 51st and 53rd Avenues, where the main buildings and landmarks are located: the Cathedral, City Hall, Plaza Moreno (Moreno square), the Teatro Argentino, the Provincial Legislature and Government house around Plaza San Martín (San Martín square). It was designed by Pedro Benoit and his prestigious team, who are among the most distinguished in the world. His basic design was a perfect square, cut in half diagonally and with squares and parks in the intersections of avenues, grand tree-lined boulevards and a forest near the center of the city. Its… [read more].

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. Buenos Aires means fair winds, or literally good airs, in Spanish. The official name is Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (“Autonomous City of Buenos Aires”), also called Capital Federal (“Federal Capital”). It is one of the largest cities in Latin America, with many cultural offerings, and is the point of departure for traveling to the rest of the country. People from Buenos Aires are called porteños, meaning “people from the port” as Buenos Aires was founded as a port city to fend off pirates and other enemies. Buenos Aires is an open and welcoming destination that allows the traveller not only to visit the city but also have an exceptional urban adventure. The city is geographically contained inside the province of Buenos Aires but is autonomous politically. The city extends across a plain covering 19.4 km (12.1 mi) from north to south and 17.9 km… [read more].

Rafael Castillo is a western suburb of Buenos Aires, located in La Matanza Partido, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. It is part of the urban agglomeration of Greater Buenos Aires. It is named after Rafael Castillo, lawyer and politician who served as the minister of the Interior of Argentina from 1904 to 1906 and owner of the lands where he planned the establishment of the town. Rafael Castillo was declared a city by the Provincial Legislature on 18 October 1974… [read more].

Belgium

Antwerp (Dutch: Antwerpen, French: Anvers) is a large city and the capital of the eponymous province in the region of Flanders in Belgium. At a population of just over half a million people, it is the second largest city in Belgium (after Brussels), and it has a major European port. Due to its long and culturally rich history, the city of Antwerp houses many interesting historical buildings from different historical periods, as well as a lot of interesting museums. Antwerp is also known as the global diamond trade hub – more than 70% of all diamonds are traded in Antwerp [read more].

Ghent (Dutch: Gent, French: Gand) is a city in East Flanders in Belgium. Ghent is a city with a population of a quarter of a million, with rich history. At the same time, Ghent has a relatively high share of young people, and a significant seasonal student population. During the Middle Ages, Ghent was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe. It was once considered the second largest city north of the Alps, after Paris. The impact of this rich past can be clearly seen when viewing the imposing architecture of churches and the houses of rich traders [read more].

Charleroi, located on the river Sambre, is the third largest municipality and fifth-largest city of Belgium situated in Hainaut province of Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium. A former mining town, it is viewed unfavourably by Belgians, who often see it as a poor, polluted and violent city that is not attractive at all. Nevertheless, Charleroi indeed has its share of attractions, including unique museums such as the internationally-acclaimed Museum of Photography. It played an important role in the development of the Belgian comic strip culture, and in the world of modern dance, Charleroi has also become an important place due to its yearly festival [read more].

France

Paris, the cosmopolitan capital of France, is one of the largest agglomerations in Europe, with 2.2 million people living in the dense (105 km²) central city, 7 million people in the Metropole du Grand Paris (814 km²) and almost 12 million people living in the metropolitan area. In the north of the country on the river Seine, Paris has the reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities, brimming with historic associations and remaining vastly influential in the realms of culture, art, fashion, food and design. Dubbed the City of Light (la Ville Lumière) and Capital of Fashion, it is home to some of the world’s finest and most luxurious fashion designers and cosmetics, such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Guerlain, Lancôme, L’Oréal, and Clarins. A large part of the city, including the banks of the Seine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has the… [read more].

Marseille is the second most populated city of France (and third urban area) the biggest Mediterranean port and the economic center of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. In 2013 the city (with its region) was the European Capital of Culture, a large series of cultural events took place, and several new infrastructures were inaugurated. Marseille has a complex history. It was founded by the Phoceans (from the Greek city of Phocea) in 600 B.C. and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The town is a far cry from the Cézanne paintings and Provençal clichés of sleepy villages, “pétanque” players and Marcel Pagnol novels. With around one million inhabitants, Marseille is the second largest city in France in terms of population and the largest in terms of area. Its population is a real melting pot of different cultures. It is also said that there are more Comorian people in Marseille than… [read more].

Lyon is the capital of the French administrative region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. A city of half a million, Lyon alone is the country’s third-largest city, but its metropolitan area is only second in population to Paris. Lyon is mostly known as the gastronomic epicentre of France, with one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per capita in the country. Lyon was a former Roman provincial capital and thus has extensive Roman ruins. Architecture in old Lyon ranges from 12th century to modern, and is primarily influenced by its position in the Renaissance as a centre of silk production. Founded by the Romans, with many preserved historical areas, Lyon is the archetype of the heritage city, as recognised by UNESCO. Lyon is a vibrant metropolis which starts to make the most out of its unique architectural, cultural and gastronomic heritage, its dynamic demographics and economy and its strategic location between Northern and Southern… [read more].

Germany

Stuttgart is the capital of the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. With a population of approximately 632,000 in the immediate city (2017) and more than 5.2 million people in the metropolitan area (2013), Stuttgart is the 6th largest city in Germany. Stuttgart is known as a centre of mechanical and automobile engineering with the headquarters of the world-famous Bosch, Mercedes and Porsche within its metropolitan area. It does not, however, resemble most other industry hubs, as it is a rather sparse city spread over many hills and valleys, with forests, parks, and even vineyards within the city. Stuttgart consists of 23 districts (Stadtbezirke), which are further divided into 152 localities (Stadtteile). The five inner districts are named Mitte, Nord, Ost, Süd and West (“centre”, “North”, “East”, “South” and “West”, respectively). The outer districts are mostly former towns with their own names – of note are Zuffenhausen (Porsche headquarters and museum), Untertürkheim (headquarters… [read more].

Karlsruhe is a city on the Rhine in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. It is in the north of the Black Forest, close to the French border. Karlsruhe is famous in Germany for both hosting two federal courts and being a major hub for science and technology. With 300,000 people, Karlsruhe is the largest city within 60 km. It is not usually visited by tourists from abroad, but is a relaxed and pleasant city to work and study in. The city was founded in 1715 by Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden. The city was laid out on the drawing board. It consists of a central circle, containing the castle, and streets running towards the castle as radial “spokes”. This pattern is still visible today. Due to the fan-like layout, Karlsruhe is known as the “fan city” (Fächerstadt). The Rhine valley, where Karlsruhe is located, is the warmest part of Germany because it is only… [read more].

Munich is the capital city of the German federal state of Bavaria. Within the city limits, Munich has a population of more than 1.5 million, making it the third most populous city in Germany. Greater Munich including its suburbs has a population of 2.7 million. The Munich metropolitan region which extends to cities like Augsburg or Ingolstadt has a population of more than 5.6 million. Located at the river Isar in Southern Bavaria, it is famous for its beautiful architecture, fine culture, history and the annual Oktoberfest beer festival. Munich has a thriving cultural scene and many travellers are absolutely stunned by its architecture. Although it was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, many of its historic buildings have been rebuilt, including its largest church, the Frauenkirche cathedral, and the famous City Hall. Its numerous architectural attractions, sports events, zoo, exhibitions and the Oktoberfest attract considerable tourism. Munich… [read more].

India

Chandigarh is India’s first planned city, quite distinct from the rest of the country and considerably better organized. It is the capital of both Haryana and Punjab, but the city is not part of either state, being a union territory, i.e. administered directly by the central government. The most striking thing about the city is the expanse of resplendent blue sky with the mountains in the backdrop. When you approach the city, you see the jagged skyline of the Shivalik Hills looming large over the city and the faint image of an old temple dedicated to Goddess Chandi (15 km from Chandigarh) from which the city got its name. Chandigarh may appear oddly familiar to Western visitors and idiosyncratic to the rest of India. Because of this, Chandigarh is a good place to visit if you need a break from the chaos of the rest of India. Chandigarh is also a very… [read more].

Ludhiana is in Punjab in India. Ludhiana is Punjab’s most populated city. It’s also an important industrial town. For its production of hosiery, Ludhiana is known as the Manchester of India. Its district is also one of the largest agricultural producers in India, particularly of grains. Established in 1960s, the Punjab Agricultural University is considered as one of the best agricultural universities in India. The city stands on the south bank of the Sutlej river. It was a major town on the Grand Trunk Road, one of Asia’s oldest roads. Ludhiana is not much of a tourist spot but is more an upcoming cosmopolitan city of India. With numerous malls and multiplexes under construction, these modern state-of-the art buildings are what tourists from nearby places come here to see and check out. The main malls of the city are Westend, Silver Arc and MBD. But if you want to see Ludhiana… [read more].

Jalandhar is a city in Punjab, India. Punjab’s third largest city with a population of nearly one million has huge historic significance. Nearby flows the Beas River that marks the eastern-most border of Alexander the Great’s conquests in 326 BCE. According to Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang or (Hsuan-tsang) who traveled to India between 627-643 CE, Adinapur (the current Jalalabad) was an important Buddhist center with lot of vihara (monasteries). At that time Adinapur was the capital of a powerful kingdom that encompassed a good part of southern Himachal Pardesh. But the city retains almost nothing of its past. Few archaeological relics are to the south, around Nakodar town. Jalandhar is now industrial center with leather goods and sport equipments being the big earners. This is a good place to share Punjabi people passion for foods. Travel options from Delhi include train and road travel. Jalandhar is well connected by trains, including a… [read more].

Japan

Tokyo is the enormous and wealthy capital of Japan, and also its main city, overflowing with culture, commerce, and most of all, people. As the most densely populated urban area in the world, Tokyo is a fascinating and dynamic metropolis that mixes foreign influences, consumer culture and global business along with remnants of the capital of old Japan. From modern electronics and gleaming skyscrapers to cherry blossoms and the Imperial Palace, this city represents the entire sweep of Japanese history and culture. Tokyo truly has something for every traveller. Huge and varied in its geography, with over 2,000 km² to explore, and a population of almost 10 million, Tokyo Metropolis spans not just the city, but rugged mountains to the west and subtropical islands to the south. Tokyo Metropolis legally contains 23 regions, which refer to themselves as “cities”; to avoid confusion, Wikivoyage refers to them as “wards” of Tokyo, which… [read more].

On the western coast of Tokyo Bay directly south of Tokyo, Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan and one of the cities most used to seeing foreigners. First a fishing village, Yokohama developed into a bustling port city following the establishment of foreign trade after the opening of Japan in 1854. It was the site where Commodore Matthew Perry landed and signed the Kanagawa Treaty ending over 200 years of isolationalism by the Tokugawa Shogunate. At the forefront of the Meiji restoration, the first train line in Japan connected Tokyo and Yokohama. However, Yokohama was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and again by the firebombings of World War II, and never really regained its prominence. It remains a maritime city to this day and retains an international flavor. Yokohama is located only half an hour away from Tokyo, and effectively forms a part of the giant… [read more].

Kawasaki is a city in Kanagawa, Japan, sandwiched between Tokyo and Yokohama. Kawasaki has been an important city of trade since the days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, as a stop on the Tokaido road between Tokyo and Kyoto. With a population of over 1.3 million, Kawasaki is the ninth most populated city in Japan, but it’s sandwiched between Japan’s two largest cities, Tokyo and Yokohama, and consequently ignored by the vast majority of tourists zooming between the two. There are attractions, though, that make Kawasaki a unique side trip, including a Buddhist temple that ranks as one of Japan’s top three most visited temples during the New Year, a Shinto fertility shrine that hosts one of Japan’s wackiest festivals, and an underrated open-air museum. Geographically, Kawasaki lies in the middle of the Keihin region, separated from the Tokyo metropolis by the Tama River, which it roughly follows, and is divided into seven… [read more].

Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland’s second-most populous city and the largest French-speaking city in Switzerland, is one of the world’s major centers of international diplomacy, having served as the site of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross since its foundation in 1863. Although the United Nations is now headquartered in New York, the organization still retains a large presence in Geneva at the Palais des Nations and many of its sister/child organizations, such as the World Health and International Labour Organizations. The City of Geneva has only 200,000 inhabitants but 915,000 people live in the metropolitan region. In 1536, a young man named John Calvin, fleeing the persecution of Protestants in France, spent a night in Geneva. As it turned out, he was to do a lot more there than sleeping. After being expelled from Geneva for nearly three years, Calvin returned triumphantly in 1541 to help elevate the city… [read more].

Lausanne, (pronounced low-ZANNE) the capital of the Swiss canton of Vaud, is a medium sized city (around two thirds the size of Geneva) which sits at the northernmost point of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). The city is the host to the International Olympic Committee and two major universities. It is also the public transport hub of Vaud, and a gateway to the alpine Canton of the Valais, home to some of the best known ski slopes in the world. Lausanne will host the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, a major international multi-sport event and cultural festival for teenagers between 9 and 22 January 2020. As you might expect the large student population makes for a lively nightlife and arts community, revolving around the Flon district. You’ll also find a number of quality restaurants and two dozen museums of note, including the Olympic Museum and the offbeat Collection de l’Art Brut. Architecture buffs… [read more].

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of some 400,000 in the city proper and 1.3 million in the metro area. Zurich is on Lake Zurich, where the lake meets the river Limmat, in the north of Switzerland. While Zurich is the country’s financial centre and has the busiest airport, Berne is the Swiss capital. Zurich is Switzerland’s biggest city and a cultural center of German-speaking Switzerland. Despite it not being the administrative capital of any more than its Kanton, Zurich punches well above its weight in terms of major media and business headquarters and due to it being at the heart of Switzerland’s excessively punctual and meticulously maintained train network and being home to Switzerland’s most important airport, it is often the first part of Switzerland that visitors get to see. Zurich is close to some excellent skiing resorts and many people headed for the Swiss Alps… [read more].

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