L – C 1954 : 1922, 1923, I boarded the Paris-Milan express several times, or the Orient Express (Paris-Ankara). In my pocket was the plan of a house. A plan without a site ? The plan of a house in search of a plot of ground ? Yes !
The Villa “Le Lac” is a little bijou of ingenuity and functionalism – an architectural manifesto where one can find the key ideas of the program developed by Le Corbusier during the 1920s for his famous “white houses”. Situated in Corseaux, Switzerland, the Villa “Le Lac” is one of the architect's most personal and inventive works.
This small detached house was designed by Le Corbusier and by his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, for Le Corbusier’s parents and was built in 1923-24. The architectural drawings had been prepared even before a building site had been chosen.
The Villa "Le Lac" is the first example of modern architecture by Le Corbusier in Switzerland, and announces three of the “five points for a new architecture”: the use of the roof as a sun deck or garden (its first application is seen here), the free floor plan and the ribbon window (11 meters long in this case). This “machine for living”, marks a decisive stage and precedes the Villa Savoye, a masterpiece of 20th century architecture.
The house is 64 square meters (16m x 4m) consisting of a living room, a bedroom, a small salon that could be converted to a bedroom for guests, a hall, a bathroom, a kitchen and a closet.
The house, as it stands today, has remained quite true to the original plan. An upper annex was added on the northwest (1931), the north façades were surfaced with hot-dip galvanized steel sheets (1931), and the south face was coated with aluminum sheets (1950) in order to correct structural problems caused by the lake and cheap construction materials . The wall that closes off the property on the north was not part of the original plan; it was added in 1931, when the new international road replaced the old “Chemin Bergère”.
Le Corbusier’s parents moved into the house in 1924. Georges Edouard Jeanneret, the architect’s father, only lived there for one year. Nevertheless, his mother, Marie Charlotte Amélie Jeanneret-Perret, remained in the house through her 100th birthday; after her death in 1960, Albert Jeanneret (Le Corbusier’s brother) lived there by himself until 1973.