Chasing World Heritage: #111 (Le Corbusier – Villa Savoye)

My opportunistic attitude towards visiting World Heritage sites was on full display on our last day in France. The town of Poissy is situated roughly half-way between Giverny and Paris, so on the way back to the capital after having thoroughly enjoyed Monet Gardens, we made a brief detour to take a look at one of the creations of Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier, whose real name is Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, was a modernist architect of the first half of the 20th century, famous for the architectural philosophy based on five main design points. The World Heritage site celebrating his work is the most geographically spread-out of all, encompassing 17 properties in 7 countries on 3 continents. Villa Savoye, in Poissy, happens to be one of the best examples of Le Corbusier’s architectural manifesto.
Villa Savoye, Poissy, France
These few shots more or less illustrate four of the five principles: pilotis, free façade design, horizontal window, and roof gardens.
Villa Savoye, Poissy, France
Villa Savoye, Poissy, France
The remaining point – free floor design – is partially illustrated by the fact that the main bathroom is not enclosed by walls on all sides and opens to the living space via a curtain.
Villa Savoye, Poissy, France
There are only a couple of random pieces of furniture in the villa and no other household objects. Remember my thoughts on livability of a place being instrumental to making a lasting impression? Villa Savoye looks too barren and altogether not livable – and that rather negates the impression of architectural innovation.
Villa Savoye, Poissy, France
Poissy is but 5 minutes off Autoroute de Normandie, easily reached from Paris. Once you park on a nearby street, under an hour is entirely sufficient to see Villa Savoye.