Born in 1887, Charles Gris, better known as Le Corbusier was a modern designer who revolutionized architecture in the early 19th century. After teaching in a small school located in Paris, Le Corbusier started designing villas for private customers, many of these large houses are now museums due to their uniqueness. This then led to the next part of his life in which he designed larger buildings. He first started with large apartment buildings but there was not much improvise so he started drifting to other types of large structures.
This is when he designed the incredible Notre Dame du Haut church in Eastern France. Located on top of a hill overlooking the Alsatian region, you can see the Alps, the Vosges, and the Black Forest all at once. Now to the uniqueness of the church itself. Le Corbusier’s mother taught him when he was young that the most beautiful form of architecture was that of simplicity. So when you enter the building, you immediately notice the plainness of the structure. Since in was built directly after WW2, there is a lot of concrete but he uses it to attract attention to certain objects. There is only one decoration in the entire church and that is the Virgin that was saved from the previous church that was burned down by the Germans during WW2. So he placed it in a small window in the midst of a vast ocean of cement. Since mass is usually in the morning, he oriented the wall with the virgin so that the light would shine brightly through that one window. This leads us to the next topic of light. The church is very dark except for that one window and another one which is located on top of the bell tower. These natural “spotlights” make you seem as if you are in heaven with the magical lighting and the jaw-dropping acoustics. The structure is made in a way that from the outside it may seem normal but inside the curvatures and the wave-like roof result in a mixture of sounds found nowhere else in the whole world.
Another cool part about this chapel is that one of my mom’s best friends from elementary school, Emmanuel Bueb, well her father is very famous for taking pictures of the chapel during construction. These pictures are very precious as they are the only ones that were taken during this time and thus cannot be retaken. This picture is the front cover of the book that my mom’s friend made with all her dad’s pictures.
The same day we were there, all of the Corbusier’s works were admitted to the Unesco program. So that is one for the records, being to a site recognized by the UNESCO that same day!
My own little photoshop project!