Villa Savoye

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Villa Savoye completed in 1929 as a modern take on the traditional French summer home is coined as a machine for living translated as design beginning to take on innovative advances found in other industry to maximise efficiency. Helping to launch Corbusier’s career and secure his place in the history books Villa Savoye does so in several ways, one of which is emphasising the five points of architecture established by Corbusier because to his love of mechanised design. These points are Pilotis, replacing supporting walls with supporting columns, Flat Roof Terrace, serves domestic purpose and provides protection to concrete roof, Open Plan, providing limitless functions and uses, Ribbon Windows, cutting horizontally along the façade providing equal light to rooms, and Free Façade, separating the exterior of a building from its structural function and using it expressively. In my own recent dwelling project, I also had the opportunity to experiment with what these 5 points mean on a contemporary basis.

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The lowest level consists mostly of these ribbon windows but also has exterior walls painted green and supported by towering pillars to allude to the perception of a floating volume. The open rooftop garden and living space connects the normally private convention of a living space with the openness of nature. The shape is unique to match the turning radius of automobiles of 1929, an early form of both ergonomics and human/vehicle interaction.

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The clients were wealthy Parisian’s looking for an escape from the crowded city.  Located just outside Paris, the Villa Savoye is located on a large unrestricted site which allowed Le Corbusier total creative freedom. The delicate floating box that he designed is both functional house and modernist sculpture, elegantly melding form and function. He considered the nature of modern life and architecture’s role in the new machine age taking inspiration from roman and Greek temples, modern race cars and the minimalist warehouses of shipbuilding. As it was such an expansive and unrestricted project Corbusier’s plans would often be updated extremely late causing stress and tension for the contractors and clients alike.


Though completed in 1929 the house was uninhabited until 1931 due to construction charges and contracting issues. Though by 1958 it had become the property of the French state, surviving many demolition plans and against all odds became an official French historical monument was carefully renovated in the late nineties before last year being titled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with some other works by Corbusier. In many ways villa Savoye acted as a creative prototype for future projects such as les cites radieuse, le couvent de la Tourette and centre le Corbusier, all classic Corbusier’s,


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