Sunday, 13 February 2011

Ville Savoye

A manifesto for modernity.

The Ville Savoye in Poissy, just outside Paris, is an excellent example of avant-garde modernism. Built in 1929 by Le Corbusier, Savoye bluntly combined Corbusier's 5 points of architecture to create a modular, minimal, clean, white and spacious house for the Savoye family's holiday home. Here arrived 'the box in the air'.

Corbusier's 5 points of architecture:

1. Pilotis (elavated floor on stilts.)
2. Open plan.
3. Roof garden
4. Ribbon windows
5. Free-floating facade (facades placed in stilts, their positions determined by the views from the inside.)

In many of his works, we can see his 5 points of architecture, and it was argued Corbusier set the rules for a new take on architecture forevermore. He, alongside other International Architects, did what they wanted to create what they wanted. Corbusier wanted light, free space and openplan living, and this is what he did at Savoye. 

However this didn't always succeed as it began to leak almost as soon as the Savoyes' moved in. Many complaints were sent to him saying how it was impossible to live their due to the leaking because of the horizontal roofing. During the war the house was occupied by the Germans and neglected so further restoration has occured to bring it back to its beauty, including making slight architectural changes to ensure it is visitable and livable.

The Ville Savoye is beautiful in it's stark simplicity. Walking around and through the building you feel free and peaceful, some could argue the contrary of feeling exposed and anxious due to the huge glass windows and open plan. Corbusier's ideas, although sometimes shunned for these reasons, opened up peoples' eyes to different ways we could live. It began the International Style and influenced artists like Eames, Lloyd Wright and the development of American Architecture of the 'glass box'.

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