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France: Maison la Roche – Le Corbusier

The Maison La Roche in Paris is one of the properties designed by influential architect Le Corbusier and was one of his first experimental houses

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret known as Le Corbusier

Born in 1930 in Switzerland and later took French Nationality, Le Corbusier was an influential architect and one of the fathers of modern architecture. He also dabbled in being a designer, painter, urban planner and writer.

His career spanned five decades, and he designed buildings in Europe, Japan, India, and North and South America.

Dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities, Le Corbusier was influential in urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM). Le Corbusier prepared the master plan for the city of Chandigarh in India, and contributed specific designs for several buildings there, especially the government buildings.

On 17 July 2016, seventeen projects by Le Corbusier in seven countries were inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement.

Le Corbusier remains a controversial figure. Some of his urban planning ideas have been criticized for their indifference to pre-existing cultural sites, societal expression and equality, and his alleged ties with fascism, antisemitism, and eugenics, and the dictator Benito Mussolini have resulted in some continuing contention

Maison La Roche

Designed and built between 1923 and 1925 to show a collector’s extensive collection of modern art, it was one of his first experimental houses and demonstrates what Le Corbusier later identified as his “Five Points of a New Architecture” – a building elevated on stilts, with a roof garden, horizontal strip windows, an open plan layout and free design of the façade, all made possible by his use of new materials such as concrete. The Maison la Roche is a wonderful example of one of Le Corbusier’s first purist villa.

We decided to walk from the Javel station on the RER C line. This is not the closest to Maison La Roche, but we wanted to see the quarter-sized replica of the Statue of Liberty (see our Blog Post on this). It took us a good 20-minutes to walk from here. Now, finding the Maison La Roche is somewhat tricky, even using Google Maps. It is located on what is essentially a driveway off of a small residential street. Easy to miss. Added to that the signage is not great so you do question that you are even in the right place. When we arrived the door was shut so we wondered whether it was even open – but we bravely pressed the doorbell. The door opened and we were let inside.

Not this is not a grandiose house, which is sort of the point. It is angular, bare and some would say cold. Personally, I liked the starkness and the way it used floors, balconies and passageways to slowly unfold the house in front of you. 

The house is small, so if you want to look around it might not take you more than half an hour. If you are a student of architecture and want to spend more time analysing the design aspects you might be there considerably longer. We were in the former group rather than the latter! Having said that we do like architecture and appreciate the importance of modern style and Le Corbusier’s influence, even if it is not specific to our taste, so we did enjoy our visit here. Of course, being an admirer of the UNESCO World Heritage program was a driver for me coming to Maison La Roche.

The main reception room at Maison La Roche
A view of the main living room from the gallery
The modist dining room at Maison La Roche
View of Maison La Roche from the roof garden
View from the roof of Maison La Roche

Planning your trip Maison La Roche 

Metro :
9 – Jasmin stop
9 & 10 – Michel-Ange Auteuil stop
 
Bus :
52 – Bus Mozart – La Fontaine stop
PC1 Bus – Suchet – Raffet stop
More information :
Address:10, square du Docteur Blanche
75016 Paris
Website:www.fondationlecorbusier.fr
Telephone:T: +33 01.42.88.75.72
Hours:

Tuesday from 10 am to 6 pm
Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm
Private opening on request.
Annual closure from 1st to 22nd August
La Roche house will be closed to the public on Thursday September 1st and Tuesday September 6th.

Fees
10 €: full price
5 €: reduced rate (unemployed, students)
15 €: combined ticket for the visit to the apartment workshop and the La Roche house

Best time to visit Paris

You’ll experience crowds from May to September, but encounter the most people in July (followed closely by June and August). We’d recommend visiting between October and April if your main objective is to avoid crowds. For the warmest temperatures, October and April are the best times to visit Paris sans crowds.

Other places to visit while in Paris

1. MUSEE D’ORSAY

Housed in a train station built for the 1900 World’s Fair, the Musée d’Orsay is known throughout the world for its rich collection of Impressionist paintings including masterpieces as iconic as the Bal au Moulin de la galette from Renoir or The room at Arles de Van Gogh. Its collections include works of architecture, decorative arts and photography in addition to traditional artistic fields (painting, sculpture, graphic arts). They thus draw a broad panorama of French and European art from 1848 to 1914.

2. VERSAILLES

The Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Embellished by several generations of architects, sculptors, decorators and landscape architects, it provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century.

3. BANKS OF THE RIVER SEINE

The banks of the River Seine through the heart of Paris are listed as UNESCO world heritage site due to the incredible architecture of buildings such as Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Grand Palais and the examples of outstanding town planning, in particular, the large squares and avenues built by Haussmann at the time of Napoleon III have influenced town planning throughout the world.

4. THE LOUVRE MUSEUM

The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world’s most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris, France. It is the home of some of the best-known works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. At any given point in time, approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are being exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres.

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