Hadid and Libeskind give Le Corbusier a makeover

The architects are proposing additions to Villa Le Lac - the house Le Corb built for his parents by a Swiss lake
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Daniel Libeskind's design for Homage to Le Corbusier
Daniel Libeskind's design for Homage to Le Corbusier

Adding an extension to a Le Corbusier building could be regarded in some quarters as akin to gluing a pair of shop mannequin arms onto the Venus de Milo. Especially when it is the lakeside house in Switzerland that the architect built for his parents to live out their final years in. Yet this is just the challenge that Patrick Moser, founder and curator of the museum at Le Corbusier's Villa Le Lac near Lausanne, in Switzerland, has set a number of notable architects. 

 

Zaha Hadid's design for Homage to Le Corbusier
Zaha Hadid's design for Homage to Le Corbusier

As William JR Curtis, the leading expert on Le Corbusier, notes in our new book on the architect, "The villa 'Le Lac' (later known simply as the 'petite maison') was a low oblong with a flat roof sited right on the water's edge and was entered through a blank north wall facing the vineyards. Roughly fifteen metres long and only four metres across, the house was as tight as a ship's cabin or a railway sleeper car but it did not feel cramped.

"Using the simplest means," Curtis goes on, "the Petite Maison established a flexible area for day-to-day existence while intensifying the experience of the sight and surroundings. The house was rudimentary, crude even, in construction but it was rich spatially and contained the germ of several key ideas."

 

Rudy Ricciotti's design for Homage to Le Corbusier
Rudy Ricciotti's design for Homage to Le Corbusier

So what have Daniel Libeskind, Mario Botta, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito, SANAA, Rudy Ricciotti, Bernard Tschumi, Gigon/Guyer, Rafael Moneo and Alvaro Siza come up with for Homage to Le Corbusier, which is on show at Villa Le Lac until 27 September?

Well, Libeskind has forgone his customary angular interventions to draft out some elegant Villa Savoye-style supports for the building; Hadid's practice meanwhile, has submitted a typically ergonomic canopy; while Rudy Ricciotti's has suggested a subterranean dining room. 

 

Le Corbusier's drawings of Villa Le Lac, which are also on display
Le Corbusier's drawings of Villa Le Lac, which are also on display

The exhibition displays all this new work alongside some superb drawings of the place by Le Corb himself, as well as a good number of archive photographs. So if you're going hiking or maybe mountain biking in the region this summer it's well worth a detour.

Like many of this year's Le Corb themed shows, Villa Le Lac's exhibition is being staged to mark the 50th anniversary of the architect's death. Yet, if Homage to Le Corbusier proves anything, it is the way in which he lives on, in the work of his antecedents. For more on the great Modernist himself, consider our Le Corbusier books, including this wonderful new title by William J R Curtis.

 

Le Corbusier's Villa Le Lac
Le Corbusier's Villa Le Lac

 


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