The Centre Le Corbusier, the final project of renowned architect Le Corbusier, has reopened to the public in Zurich following an extensive renovation. Completed in 1967, the scheme is only of the only Le Corbusier buildings to be constructed almost entirely from glass and steel: realizing his concept of the synthesis of architecture, life, and art in real life.
Open from May to November, the pavilion now hosts temporary exhibitions, events, and workshops that look at various aspects of the architect’s life and work. Following its extensive restoration, photographed here by Paul Clemence, the space will be used for exhibits, from furniture design to photography and painting.
Designed before the architect’s death in 1965, the building stands as a testament to Corbusier’s renaissance genius as an architect, painter, and sculptor. It does so both intentionally, as it is an exhibition space for his life’s work, and naturally, as it is a building masterfully designed.
Interestingly, the building diverges in some ways from the style responsible for his renown – concrete, stone, uniform repetition, etc. It celebrates the use of steel, with which he explored prefabrication and assembly, and freedom through modularity, in which the plan is completely open but infinitely adaptable.
The roof structure, which stands on four rectangular supports, consists of two 12mx12m square elements made of welded steel sheets. Each square is in the shape of a parasol, one facing up and the other down. The entire structure is prefabricated: produced by the steel manufacturer, brought to the site in the biggest possible pieces, assembled to its final state on the ground, and finally lifted into place. The two parasols provided cover from sun and rain during construction and continue to provide cover for the entire pavilion, while also acting as a dominant aesthetic element of the building.
Enamel panels in primary colors and glass envelope the main volume of the building. In the language of the rest of the building, the panels are of a standard dimension, one-third the size of the steel cubes. The panels and their respective colors are distributed throughout the building’s exterior with a perceptible rhythm.
The scheme was recently featured in ArchDaily’s guide to the city of Zurich. For more information on the scheme, you can read our AD Classics guide to the building here, or check out the tourist listing here.