Villa Savoye is a home built in the late 1920’s in Poissy, France, a suburb of Paris. It was designed by the master modern Swiss architect Le Corbusier and is considered one of his finest masterpieces of architecture. It is an example of “Corb’s” International Style architecture which is characterized by the ribbon window, the flat roof, the concrete pilotis or column, long ramps and roof terraces.
The house is constructed of reinforced concrete and plastered masonry units. The white plaster uniforms the house and erases any memory of units or the pieces that built it. The mathematical proportions and formulas have been well studied in plan and section, reasoning Corb’s need for order, rhythm and proportion. (Video of Corb’s five point manifesto: http://vimeo.com/74918994)
Having visited and walked the house myself, it is easy to imagine living there in the early 1930’s as a ‘country home’ in the suburbs as a reprieve from the busy city life of Paris. The windows frame picturesque views like photos on the wall. The curved staircases are a sculptural relief from the many hard orthogonal angles. The rooms are bright, well proportioned and painted soothing, soft Corb colors. The height of the roof terrace produces amazing views which allegedly at one point in time gave vistas back to Paris.
One of the main reasons why I am a fan, is not actually its architectural attributes but its success as a piece of sculpture in the landscape. Each side of the house is a masterful composition with variations on the pure white box, the void, the column, and the curve. Le Corbusier artfully puts them together in the landscape to make a timeless piece of art.