Beautiful Villa Savoye

As a monument to modernism, the building possesses a poetry and sensitivity full of idealism. The careful composition of living space and intention to harness natural light, not to mention the building’s iconic aesthetic, still define modern architecture.

villasavoye_landscapeThe Villa Savoye, built in 1929 in Poissy, a rural area outside Paris, was Le Corbusier’s answer to a French country house. Given relatively few constraints by the Savoye family, Le Corbusier designed a building to embody the architectural theory he had evolved in practice and in his book, Towards an Architecture 1923. He was inspired by both the classical forms of ancient Greek architecture and the modern technologies that were shaping the world such as automobiles, airplanes and ocean liners.

villasavoye_landscape2.jpgThis project was the last in a series of private homes known as the ‘white villas’ built by Le Corbusier and his cousin and partner Pierre Jeanneret, which introduced a new form of luxury in which space itself, and its capacity for leisure, were the valuable commodities.

Of these, The Villa Savoye perhaps best embodies Le Corbusier’s architectural manifesto, the five points of architecture. The first, pilotis – slender pillars which raise the building off the ground, opening up more space for gardens and cars, made possible the second, a façade free of its usual load bearing function. Walls were no longer supporting structures but ‘membranes.’ This allowed the unimpaired design of the third, an open plan interior, and the fourth, ribbon windows to flood the interior with maximum light and to illuminate it evenly. A sliding window system patented by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret was intended to offer superior ventilation, as well as give access to the fifth, a flat roof which could serve as a terrace. A curved solarium crowns the structure, the brightest increment in the layered design. This symbiotic relationship of these five features gives some insight into what could otherwise be a somewhat alienating notion of Le Corbusier’s, the famous concept of a house as ‘a machine for living.’

villasavoye_landscape3-outdoor.jpgUnfortunately the Villa Savoye presented its residents with its own host of problems, despite its pioneering design. Each autumn, as the windows ushered in a warm vista of seasonal colour, the family would write repeatedly to Le Courbusier, begging him to make ‘habitable,’ what proved to be a damp and chilly building. They complained of ‘raining’ in the hall, on the ramp and in the bathroom. The loud drumming of rain on the bathroom skylight kept them awake at night, heat escaped through the long stretches of glazing and the heating system was both insufficient and a further cause of flooding.

villasavoye_stair.jpg villasavoye_portraitchair villasavoye_landscape4.jpgvillasavoye_portrait6-bath.jpgvillasavoye_portrait5-stair 2.jpg villasavoye_landscape4

Much of this was perhaps due to the fact that the technology involved was not fully developed at the time. As a monument to Modernism, the building possesses a poetry and sensitivity full of idealism. The careful composition of living space and intention to harness natural light, not to mention the building’s iconic aesthetic, still define modern architecture. Nonetheless, the discomforts they had suffered ultimately led the Savoye family to decide against restoring the property after the 2nd World War, when it was seized by German forces. About to be demolished by the local authorities to make way for a school, the building was rescued by architects and academics including Le Corbusier himself. Now a museum, restored closely to its original state, Villa Savoye is one of 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Credit: readcereal.com/

Beautiful Bauhaus

Most people attribute Germany’s Bauhaus
school, founded by Walter Gropius,with being
all about minimalist design, paring down
architecture to its most non-essential elements
whilst being beautiful at the same time.
What is overlooked is the fantastical costume
parties of the 1920s. Not only were they good
at designing furniture and everything else in
between, their costumes were just as sculptural
and flamboyant. The Bauhaus shindigs were
outright competitive. Imagine dancing around
in one of these with Wassily Kandinsky,
Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy,
Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer.

escola_bauhaus
Bauhaus costumes by Oskar Schlemmer (1925)
Photos by Karl Grill via The Charnel-House

The parties began as improvisational events,
but later grew into large-scale productions
with costumes and sets made by the school’s
stage workshop. There was often a theme to
the evenings. One party was called Beard, Nose,
and Heart, and attendees were instructed t
show up in clothing that was two-thirds white,
and one-third spotted, checked or striped.
However, it’s generally agreed that the
apotheosis of the Bauhaus’ costumed revelry
was the Metal Party of 1929, where guests
donned costumes made from tin foil, frying
pans, and spoons. Attendees entered that
party by sliding down a chute into one of
several rooms filled with silver balls.

bauhaus1
bauhaus2
bauhaus-costumes-1
bauhaus-costumes-4
bauhaus3 bauhause-schlemmer
Bauhaus costumes by Oskar Schlemmer (1925)
Photos by Karl Grill via The Charnel-House

 

 

Beautiful People

March 20, 1916 Albert Einstein published
his Theory of Relativity.
Einstein said: “When you are courting a
nice girl, an hour seems like a second.
When you sit on a red-hot cinder,
a second seems like an hour.
That’s relativity.”

84157_original
Le Corbusier and Albert Einstein, 1946