Completed in 1925, Maison La Roche triumphed as a symbol of modernism, cementing Charles Edouard Jeanneret’s reputation as an avant-garde architect. Having evolved from abstract painter to designer and town planner in the preceding years, he had already completed several buildings in his hometown in Switzerland.
Maison La Roche, located in an affluent area of Paris, employed a new purist style, embracing clean lines and applying a set of architectural principles that would later become his signature. Jeanneret marked the occasion by adopting a new alias, from now on he would be known as; Le Corbusier.
Swiss banker and avid art collector Raoul Albert La Roche commissioned his friend, Le Corbusier, to create a building that encompassed both a private residence and a public gallery space in which to exhibit his vast collection of cubist and purist painting. After completion, he would open the exhibition space twice a week, offering fellow Parisians the chance to view his collection.
One of a series of 14 villas constructed in Paris during the 1920s, Maison La Roche served as a predecessor to the much larger Villa Savoye in Poissy. During this time Le Corbusier developed the “Five Points of a New Architecture”. Integral to this new ideology was the use of horizontal windows, cutting across the entire length of the building, allowing as much natural light as possible to enter the space.
The interior design of the house, based on a purist rational, does away with ostentatious decorative details, in favour of a clean and minimal aesthetic.
Industrial elements of the building’s interior, such as the radiators and exposed lightbulbs, were highlighted as opposed to concealed, demonstrating Le Corbusier’s theory of the home as a machine.
A select colour palette, comprised of 8 muted tones, is repeated throughout the house and evident in the smallest details, such as the inside of the doorframe and handrail of the staircase.
A ramp running across the entire length of the gallery space and leading to the second floor, was inspired by a similar installation at the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, which Le Corbusier visited during his travels to Turkey.
Later in 1928 the interior of the gallery was remodelled by Parisian interior designer Charlotte Perriand, after one of the radiators sprung a leak and flooded the space, causing irreparable damage to the original furnishings.
“LC1 Villa Church”, a polished steel framed chair with blue satin upholstery, was a collaborative design between the architect and Charlotte Perriand, epitomising the 1920s aesthetic.
The roof garden, an integral component of Le Corbusier’s “five points of architecture”, takes centre stage at Maison La Roche. The landscaped area provided an additional living space, unveiling views over the surrounding rooftops of Paris.
For more information visit The Le Corbusier Foundation
8-10 Square du Dr Blanche, 75016 Paris, France