Saturday, 27 May 2017

La Maison Blanche

While being in La Chaux-de-Fonds, we could not miss the opportunity to visit one of the houses designed by the world-famous architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, best known as Le Corbusier who was born and raised in the town of the watchmakers. La Chaux-de-Fonds has several houses that he has designed, I propose we visit La Maison Blanche, which he has designed in 1912.

La Maison Blanche means literally "the White House". I am sure you can guess where this name came from.

It was the first creation of Le Corbusier as independent architect. It is neo-classical, with some influence of modern German architecture.

Le Corbusier designed this house for his parents. Nowadays, it is run by an association and can be visited. So let's get inside, my friends.

Le Corbusier was known for his desire to bring light into the buildings. This house is rectangular, with four main pillars that free up the space from walls and let the light in. All the interior have been carefully renovated, in line with old pictures and written memories of the original design.

The windows are large and are a natural link with the garden.

On the walls you can study the original drawings of the house.

There is also a wooden model, that allows you to contemplate how the house is embedded into a steep hill.

Also on the upper floor you will find spacious rooms with large window, open and inviting.

Since the house was designed for his parents, Le Corbusier had a room of his own as well. Additionally, he has planned to have his atelier on the upper floor. The drawing table was lit up by sunlight, entering the room through a large roof window. Unheard of at that time.

La Maison Blanche is quite small but it marks the opening of a new era in modern architecture. The outstanding contribution of Le Corbusier to the modern movement was recognised by UNESCO who has inscribed several building he has designed into the World Heritage Site List. And it all began here, in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

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