Villa Savoye--Introduction and Index (105 images)

Le Corbusier


One of Le Corbusier's most important works, the Villa Savoye is dramatic in its apparent simplicity. It is viewed as the climax as well as the end of his works done in the so-called Purist style. Important stylistic features include facades that are essentially similar, without an obvious traditional front facade; a smooth white (that is "pure") reinforced concrete surface with continuous horizontal (ribbon) windows in the first floor and without historical ornament; a dark green base and supporting pilotis (slender columns) which raise the building so it appears to be floating; a flat roof with a garden or solarium; an open plan which leads to the interpenetration of inside and outside.

This now iconic building was commissioned by Pierre and Emilie Savoye who owned the land overlooking the Seine. Monsieur Savoye, a wealthy insurance company director, wanted a country home for weekend retreats and entertaining. This home in meadows surrounded by woods was a short car ride from Paris (30 miles from Paris). The size of the house was in part determined by the turning radius of a 1930s limousine. Incorporated into the ground level--the green base--is a three-car garage.

It was subsequently evident that the house was not comfortable so the owners abandoned using it. During World War II German occupying forces lived in it and later Allied troops used it as a barn. It barely escaped demolition and in 1964 was listed as a public building. Since then it has undergone three series of restorations, the most recent in 1996-97. About a half hour by public transportation, Villa Savoye is now a pilgrimage destination for students of architecture.

105 images

Exterior views from all sides
9 images
Views of the northwest facade and main entrance
13 images
Views of the southwest and northeast facades
8 images
Views of the vestibule and stairwell
15 images
Views of the interior ramp
10 images
Views of the living room and kitchen
10 images
Views of the terrace
10 images
Views of the exterior ramp and roof
17 images
Views of the bedrooms and master bathroom
13 images

Works Cited and Consulted:
Guillemette Morel-Journel, Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye. Paris: Centre des monuments nationaux. Monum, Éditions du Patrimoine, 1998.
Jacques Sbriglio, Le Corbusier: La Villa Savoye. Paris: Fondation Le Corbusier, 1999.

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.