Architect / Designer
Year(s) of Construction
1928 - 1931
About this Building / Place
The last in a series of white houses designed by architect Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye was built as a weekend house for the Savoye family. The site was a large field surrounded by mature trees. Because one of the primary design goals was to leave the site as untouched as possible, the house was sited on the middle of this field.
The automobile was a new thing at the time, and Le Corbusier put a lot of though into how the experience of arriving at the site by car would be integrated into the experience of the house. To understand this experience, imagine arriving at the site by car, passing through a thick stand of mature trees which then open up into the clearing, with the house in the middle. The driveway then leads under the house and around to the front door. In fact the radius of the curve of the ground floor leading to the entrance was determined by the turning radius of a car of the day. You would then get out of the car, protected under the house, and enter the front door.
While regular people like myself are simply trying to decide which color to paint our cabinets and how to strip them without using sandpaper, Le Corbusier is planning out an entire approach up the driveway.
The Savoyes lived in the house until 1940. During the second world war the house was occupied first by Gemans and then Allies, and seriously damaged. It came into possession of the town of Possy in 1958, which used it as a youth center and then considered demolishing it. However, after the protest of architects who felt it should be saved, and with support from Le Corbusier, the house was protected.
In 1965 it became listed as a historic monument, and from 1985 through 1997 complete restoration work was perfomed. The restoration has included structural and surface repairs to the facades, ineterior, and terraces, rewiring, and installation of security cameras and lights.
During this restoration, many of the original interior colors were restored. In situations where the original color could not be determined with enough certainty, the interior wall was painted white, the standard practice in restoring Le Corbusier buildings. Replicas of most original interior light fixtures were created as well. The long light fixture now in the living room, made of folded sheet metal, was a redesign.
82, rue de Villiers Poissy, France Open to Public: Yes
Directions to Visit
From Paris, take RER train line A to Poissy. Then, take bus 50 towards La Coudraie, and ask the bus driver for the stop for Villa Savoye. You will also find information about how to find Villa Savoye posted at the bus stop for bus 50. When facing up hill from the bus stop, Villa Savoye is slightly up the hill and to your right. Total travel time from central Paris to Villa Savoye by these directions is 1 to 1.5 hours.
In the summer (March 1st - October 31st), Villa Savoye is open for public visits from Tuesday - Sunday, from 10am - 6pm. In the winter (Nov 2nd - Feb 28th), it is open Tuesday - Sunday, from 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm. You can confirm opening hours by calling (+33) 01 39 65 01 06.
The terraces and most rooms can be visited. The livingroom is partially furnished with furniture designed by Le Corbusier. A few rooms are used for offical purposes, and the maid’s room has an informational display including a model and some of Le Corbusier’s drawings. Other rooms are empty.
Before you go visit out granite color gallery to get design inspiration for your own home.