The world’s most famous buildings: Villa Savoye by the legendary Le Corbusier

The exterior of Villa Savoye on the outskirts of Paris

In the following decades, the grounds of Villa Savoye changed and developed, but its classification as a French National Monument in 1960 kept it untouched (not to mention the fact that it was saved from demolition – after the owners abandoned it during World War II, it fell into disrepair and even housed a hay barn).

The trees near the south side of the square house are as good as when it was built, but the view from the north and west sides was different – then these facades were hidden by trees from the school and other buildings.

The walkway on the south side was designed to give guests (no doubt arriving by car) a pleasant first impression of the villa. As we'll see later, this design idea has a peculiar extension. Le Corbusier it was reminiscent of the approach to the Parthenon in Athens. Here it's a kind of modern interpretation of antiquity.

The exterior of Villa Savoye on the outskirts of Paris

One of the most striking architectural details of the first floor is the wide canopy which surrounds the building on three sides. The space between the support columns and the outer wall here is wide enough for a car to drive through.

The exterior of Villa Savoye on the outskirts of Paris

Here's another of the interesting design intricacies detailed in LaVine's book: a standard structure can look very unusual thanks to an innovative architectural approach. See how it looks: The column, which normally would have been on the inside, just behind the front door, and would have been in the way of access, has been moved far below the overhang. This allowed the harmony of the elements to be maintained and the security to be assured.

Corbusier doubled the number of columns in one direction (left to right in the photo) and moved them in the other; the paired columns and supporting beams are visible through the glass on the sides of the front door. This structural flexibility is made possible by the use of concrete, of which the structural elements of the building are made.

Unusual spiral staircase to the second floor

Climbing the spiral staircase or spiral ramp, you can gradually see the house and surroundings from all sides. Both paths lead to the second floor – to the large living room and terrace on the south side of the house. The staircase ascends to the roof garden, and is separated from the terrace by a clear glass wall.

Villa Savoye bedroom interior

The owners' bedroom is accessible through a corridor next to the bathroom. The view from the bedroom shows how the two rooms are joined by a wavy "bathing" bench reminiscent of the famous Corbusier chairs (if you look closely at the photos, you can see such chairs in the living room and hallway).

The bathroom at Villa Savoye perfectly illustrates the outdoor type – one of the Five Points of Corbusier, – but it does so quite subtly. As everywhere else in the house, the columns are not load-bearing structures. Here they stand at a small distance from the walls.

The spacious living room at Villa Savoye

The huge south-facing sliding glass walls combine the living room and terrace to give the room plenty of sunshine, while the built-in table offered the choice of alfresco dining.

Villa Savoye patio

The windows on the north side were designed precisely for the view behind the trees. This opening (there was no building in the background in 1931) allows you to look very far. It is the culmination of an architectural idea that is well thought out and includes the first floor canopy, the elegant staircase, and all the details of the interior. Without a doubt, this house is a must-see! And the national monument status allows any visitor to do so.

Floor plan of Villa Savoye
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