Designed 1923-1925 as a residence for Swiss banker Raoul La Roche, Villa Roche is the quintessence of Le Corbusier’s modern approach to housing. The Villa acted as an exhibition space for Mr. Roche’s collection of avant-garde artwork, and is a pure assemblage of spatial volumes that interlocks the dual programs of domicile and gallery.
More on Villa Roche after the break.
The promenade through Villa Roche plays a significant role in linking these two programs into one; its hierarchy is a theme inspired by Corbusier‘s visit to the Acropolis. The Villa was imagined as a “spatial experience” and consists of a specifically deliberate path which guides the inhabitant and unveils the artwork as an itinerary through history.
Beginning with Cubist art and finishing with Purism, the promenade leads through the piano noble up into a succession of wonderfully illuminated spaces which were perceptibly designed to be experiential and viewed from a single, fixed point. Precisely placed wall openings, stairs, ramps, and balconies divide the space into three dimensional grid-like layers which are permeable to stunning illumination, yet subtle and unobtrusive to the Villa’s equilibrium.
Villa Roche is most certainly a complex of form and program. Each room has with a particular purpose – bedroom, kitchen, bath – are arranged offside to the much more grand area which acts as a central vestibule, diffusing light throughout the Villa and its interior.
Through the series of contracting and expanding corridors in Villa Roche, the dweller is allowed a personalized experience of the space. The prominent spatial volume serves as a focal point where the promenade can be experience all at once, however, it is the individual’s path throughout the villa is what will determine his perception of this residence.
In keeping with “Corbusien color-space,” Villa Roche’s interior makes use of a polychromatic color scheme, ranging from dark gray, to lucid blue, to pale sienna. In contrast to the entirely white façade, the vivid internal color palate harmonizes the otherwise asymmetrical arrangement of the Villa.
Le Corbusier’s idiosyncratic approach to the design of Villa Roche yielded a stunning model of French architecture, and is a representation of his systematic design approach at its fullest. Le Corbusier himself describes Villa Roche as “picturesque, full of movement, but requiring a classical hierarchy to discipline it.”
Architect: Le Corbusier
Location: Paris, France
Project Year: 1923-1925
Photographs: Steve Cadman, Rory Hyde, Amaury Henderick, Harold Hollingsworth, Flickr user: s0ftmachine, Flickr user: deneux_jacques
References: Deborah Gans, Le Corbusier, Stanislaus von Moos, David Brett