Analysing Villa Savoye

Topics: Le Corbusier, Cubism, Villa Savoye Pages: 5 (1747 words) Published: May 13, 2011
Swiss-French writer, painter and mostly self-taught architect Le Corbusier was one of the pioneers of what is now called Modern architecture or the International style. He is best known for his architectural projects and theoretical thought. (Liukkonen, P. 2008. Creative Commons Nimeä-Epäkaupallinen-Ei muutettuja teoksia 1.0 Suomi.) Believing that architecture is a combination of simple forms and utilitarian needs he created "a machine for living in". (MATTHEW, K. 1994. GREAT BUILDINGS COLLECTION. Artifice, Inc.) Figure 1: Le Corbusier

(JSVisuals. 2010. Mtanga. JSVisuals.)
Figure 1: Le Corbusier
(JSVisuals. 2010. Mtanga. JSVisuals.)
In one of his books Le Corbusier wrote "Working by calculation, engineers employ geometrical forms, satisfying our eyes by their geometry and our understanding by their mathematics; their work is on the direct line of good art." (LE CORBUSIER, 1946:8)

In the following essay I will discuss Le Corbusier’s five principles and how they are applied to the Villa Savoye, how these reflect cubism and how space time relationships, three dimensional qualities and circulation is influenced and incorporated into the Villa Savoye.

Figure 2: The Villa Savoye façade showing pilotis (WASSMANN, C. 2009. Anarchitecture. Creative Commons Attributue.) Figure 2: The Villa Savoye façade showing pilotis (WASSMANN, C. 2009. Anarchitecture. Creative Commons Attributue.) The volume of the structure is supported by pilotis. This lifts it off the earth and frees up the stretch of lawn below. This allowed for access of motor vehicles, which were parked below the house making the ground floor merely an elaborate garage and servants’ quarters. The curvature of the trajectory is reinforced by the crescent arrangement of the glass wall which forms the entrance. This dramatizes the entrance.

Figure 3: Roof Garden (House Design Idea. 2010. House Design Idea.) Figure 3: Roof Garden (House Design Idea. 2010. House Design Idea.) The next point would be to create a roof garden by taking the building as a mechanical slab and lifting the structure (this is done as mentioned above). Then a garden would be planted to compensate for the loss of functional space on the ground floor. The roof terrace serves to link the interior and exterior space. This puts the building into perspective with its surroundings. Resembling a Greek temple it allows the occupant to feel the significance of the backdrop and almost to remind them of their insignificance compared with their environment.

The façade is freed by removing load bearing interior walls using columns that are situated within the structure rather than along the edges. This allows for the Villa Savoye to appear as if it is a “floating” box. The solid slabs seem to be hanging loosely, joined only by the windows in between. The transparency of the windows dematerialises the structure.

This arrangement permits ribbon window. They turn around the corners creating a panorama or uninterrupted view of the horizon. It also provides sufficient illumination and ventilation.

Lastly an open floor plan is required. Internally placed columns provide the structural support and a free form plan. This offers a flexible and versatile interior space. (Au, F. 2008. Le Corbusier. Gather Inc.)

(COHEN, 2006:43-47)

Cubism started out as an intellectual rebellion. It stood against the artistic communication of earlier periods. Paint texture and colour, subject matter with emotional concepts, the use of light on form, movement, atmosphere, and the illusionism that was created though natural perspective. Rather an analytical system wherein the three-dimensional subject was fragmented and reproduced as a flat object, often in collage form. In cubism right angles and straight lines were preferred and colour schemes were often monochromatic. Cubism was a conceptual theory, often linked to the closing of one’s eye and...
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