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

Villa Savoye, France (Valueyou/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0).
Belgium (Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi)
France (Paris, Marseille, Lyon).
Switzerland (Geneva, Bern, Zurich)
Location: N46 28 6.29 E6 49 45.61 (and more)
Date of Inscription: 2016
i. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
ii. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
vi. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.
Property : 98.4838 ha
Buffer zone: 1,409.384 ha
Ref: 1321
Chapel of Notre Dame, Ronchamp, France (Valueyou/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0).

Chosen from the work of the father of Modernism, the Swiss-French architect and designer Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris – known to most as 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”, popularizing the use of reinforced concrete columns and freeing up roof space for gardens. It 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. Le Corbusier’s work define the Modern movement as it is a radical change compared to tradition. A revolution in the way of living. This regards not only architecture but also furniture and all the equipment of the home. Innovation must be everywhere. He was a rationalist and art was always at the center of his architecture.

The 17 sites are:

  • Maisons La Roche et Jeanneret (Paris, France). It’s the first purist building, with the ramp, large framed windows and polychromy: simplicity, elegance, subtle light, humble and luxurious altogether. The 1925 residence includes a separate residence and gallery for an art-collecting friend. Two white blocks join to create the building’s L-shaped plan.
  • Petite villa au bord du lac Léman (Switzerland). On a secluded spot on the eastern shoreline of Lake Geneva, this home is designed for his parents between 1923 and 1924. The modest single-storey block measures just 60 square metres. It includes a number of early explorations of design features that Le Corbusier felt were necessary in Modern architecture, including usable flat roofs and adaptable interiors.
  • Cité Frugès (France)
  • Maison Guiete (Antwerp, Belgium). Belgian artist and art critic René Guiette asked Le Corbusier to design his studio-cum-residence. The structure is from the “white villas” series that defined the architect’s early career. From the front, it appears as a simple white block with a flat roof and walls punctured by gridded glazing.
  • Maisons de la Weissenhof-Siedlung (Stuttgart, Germany). The Weissenhof housing estate, also called the Werkbundsiedlung, was an enormous laboratory of the future: 33 buildings, eleven of which are still standing today. A pair of semi-detached houses continues to be one of his most spectacular designs: airy and light, it rests on slender pillars, strict and elegant at the same time. It also includes the Weissenhof Museum.
  • Villa Savoye et loge du jardiner (France)
  • Immeuble Clarté (Geneva, Switzerland). Encompasses dwelling units of various configurations over eight storeys, it has two facades that are almost entirely glazed and features a double-loaded corridor system. Large-pane window that slide horizontally on ball bearings was introduced. Glass was used to construct stairwells, allowing the vertical circulation paths to be naturally lit.
  • Immeuble locatif (Paris, France) is an eight-story apartment building that is intended to afford a contemporary lifestyle. Designed near Porte Molitor, where he qualified his four elements of urbanism – sky, trees, steel and concrete – as essential to a contemporary lifestyle. Completed in 1934, the building is bordered on two sides by traditional apartment-style dwellings.
  • Unité d’habitation (Marseille, France). Built as post-WWII working-class housing. Complete with a shopping center, post office, and room for 1,600 people in efficiently laid-out apartments, the building acted as a self-contained city that showed the new splendor of bare concrete, and served as an example of a new housing topology.
  • La Manufacture (Saint-Dié, France). Le Corbusier experimented with his new proportion system called the Modulor to dictate column grids, ceiling heights and sizes of rooms at the hosiery factory.
  • Maison du docteur Curutchet (La Plata, Argentina). The open-facade four-story house was completed in 1953. It is arranged around a courtyard and central atrium that are typical of traditional local homes. A tree planted on the ground floor grows up through the building, its canopy adding more greenery to a terrace garden on an upper storey.
  • Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut (Ronchamp, France). It was built as an extension to a Christian pilgrimage site that was partially destroyed during World War II, with an asymmetrical, curved concrete roof.
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier (France)
  • Complexe du Capitole (Chandigarh, India). One of Le Corbusier’s most spectacular work. The magnificent edifices stand as massive concrete sculptures. The Complex comprises three masterpieces, the Secretariat/Palace of Ministries,the High Court/Palace of Justice andthe Legislative/Palace of Assembly. Separated by large piazzas, the subtle and most evocative grouping of these buildings is of breath-taking beauty. At the centre, the giant metallic sculpture of The Open Hand is a familiar totem for Chandigarh.
  • Couvent Sainte-Marie-de-la-Tourette (France)
  • Musée National des Beaux-Arts de l’Occident or National Museum of Western Art (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Maison de la Culture de Firminy (France).

These masterpieces of creative genius also attest to the internationalization of architectural practice across the planet.

Unite d’Habitation, Marseille, France (Crookesmore/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0).


Mar 17 2017 – French architect Le Corbusier’s foray into the Far East; Michael Penn; Al Jazeera

Mar 14 2017 – The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier; Everything Everywhere

Feb 28 2017 – Le Corbusier Foundation: A Must-Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site in Paris; Mary Winston Nicklin; France Today

Feb 13 2017 – Chandigarh Sector 17 Plaza: For new look, old buildings to get hydrophobic coating; Hina Rohtaki; Indian Express

Nov 11 2016 – 10 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites For Your Travel List; CITI IO

Foundation Le Corbusier

National Museum of Western Art – Le Corbusier works located in Tokyo, Japan.

Chandigarh The Beautiful City – Official website of Chandigarh administration, with some information on Le Corbusier master plan.

The chapel of Notre Dame Du Haut

Villa Le Lac

Virtual Tours:


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