Notre Dame du Haut. Le Corbusier

Notre Dame du Haut is one of those architectural masterpieces that can’t be defined or categorized.

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‘Ronchamp,’ as is commonly known, has been a religious site of pilgrimage for the Catholics. In 1950, Le Corbusier was consigned by the Catholic Clerical to redesign a new church; replacing the previous church that was destroyed during World War II. The clerical was strong on the idea of a new design approach, far from the common extravagant details and ornamentation.
Notre Dame du Haut is one of those architectural masterpieces that can’t be defined or categorized. The project looks like a sculptural work of art, such that it doesn’t even resemble Le Corbusier’s ideas and aesthetics from previous projects. Instead, he focused on human reflection and meditation. He kept alive the principles of purity and openness with two detailed features:
  1. White walls
  2. Light
According to Le Corbusier, when light enters the space, it creates a washed-out effect on the white walls, resembling the idea of ‘ethereal’.
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The sculptural character of the building is provided by the curved concrete walls acting as the acoustical amp and structural support. A 10cm gap between the roof and the wall provides a floating effect to the curved roof. The gap, which is seen at various angles of the building, creates a clerestory light effect, while additional sources of light are established in the punctured concrete walls.
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CARVING = LIGHT + FUNCTION
carved

chair

INTERSECTION OF ELEMENTS
ronchamp

1954
Church
LeCorbusier
March to October 9am – 7pm.
October to April 10am – 5pm.
Rue de la Chapelle
Ronchamp, France
Texts, photographs and diagrams by Michelle Chedraui.