A machine for living in
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 gem 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”. This laboratory of modern ideas is one of the architect's most personal and inventive works.
The Villa
L – C 1954 : In 1923 our “Chemin Bergère” here was an almost deserted track, an old Roman road which linked the diocese of Sion with those of Lausanne and Geneva.

The Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier (1923) is the fruit of ergonomic research and functionalist analysis—exceptional in 1923—aimed at achieving a typological standard: the narrow house with a single bay. That very standard was subsequently applied all over the world. Prototype of the minimal house offering a maximum of comfort and space, the Villa “Le Lac” crystallises ideas that would have considerable influence during the 20th century on the fundamental questions of the minimum living space and the dwelling for the greatest number. This modest 64-square-metre construction already brings together three of the future “five points of a new architecture”: the open floor plan, the roof garden and the ribbon window—one of the first in the history of architecture. A genuine technical experiment, this 11-metre-long horizontal window bears witness to a new concept of landscape framing and the relationship with the building site.

Chronology
1923 - 1924
construction of the Villa “Le Lac”

1931
galvanised steel sheet cover the north and west facades, construction of the annex and north wall

1951
aluminium sheet cover the south facade

1962
the Villa “Le Lac” becomes a grade 1 listed building
1971
the Fondation Le Corbusier becomes the owner of the Villa

1984
the Villa opens to the public
2010
the Villa becomes a museum
2012
beginning of the restoration of the Villa
2013
the museum is run by the Association Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier
2016
listed as world heritage site by UNESCO
Photos © FLC/ProLitteris