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Le Corbusier, Une petite maison, Vevey, 1923. Photo: Wikipedia.

The roots of Le Corbusier

Unesco has added 17 projects by the Swiss-born architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (1887-1965) to the World Heritage List. The objects are in Germany, France, India, Switzerland, Argentina and Belgium. Le Corbusier,  a pseudonym, is one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, and his works have had a considerable impact and demonstrate significant technical and conceptual changes in the field of architecture and urbanism.

His work reflects an ongoing search for new forms as well as constructive principles and models for living. Le Corbusier wanted his work to be profoundly universal, and as such included types of programs for all kinds of people. His work had an international scope, and his achievements are found on almost every continent. Le Corbusier was also a prolific theorist, and he disseminated his ideas through his projects and his writings.

He was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds (canton Neuchatel). He first entered the school of art in this city, but soon continued to study architecture in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Asia and southern France. During the Interbellum (1920-1939), he became one of the most influential architects and urban planners. The most effective way to get to grips with his work is following his first works in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle.

The Villa Fallet (1906) in La Chaux-de-Fonds show Art Nouveau. The Villa Jaquemet and Villa Stotzer (1908) have a sober façade according to the southern French model. The Maison Blanche (1912) was his first creation as an independent architect. Its tendency is neo-classical, influenced by modern German architecture, the Balkans and the Roman heritage. Dating from the same year is the Villa Favre-Jacot in Le Locle, also built in the neo-classical style.

The Villa Turque (1917) is his best known and most remarkable architecture in his city of birth, including the oriental character of the house. Upon completion, he left for Paris but should finish a few other buildings in La Chaux-de-Fonds.  In 1923-25, he built the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Arts) in a neo-classical style lending towards Art Deco. This museum also houses other artefacts by Le Corbusier: engravings, a painting, a tapestry and furniture. (further information: www.ne.ch).