Corbusier ZH

Realizations based on the theory of architecture by Le Corbusier are always worthy of visit. Passing through Zurich (CH) allows to discover another fine example of a villa he designed in the neighborhood of the old town. Within walking distance from the lake Zurich the spacious building allows just like the Paris example for an exhibition of art work within the villa. Horizontally stretched windows and a terrace on the roof make these villas look very modern. Rooftop bars and restaurants just stage a revival in inner cities as cool locations. Le Corbusier anticipated this long ago. Theories can have a long half value time of lasting.

The materials applied in the realizations were obviously less durable. This is the reason why the villa had been closed for renovations for many years. The reopening now shows the splendid views from inside out as well as from the outside. Colors are especially interesting in this example. Nothing is left to or build by chance. The Design language is spelled out in each detail down to door handles. An ongoing exhibition about the deterioration of materials and in some cases even toxic materials helps to understand the necessity to be aware of material science in construction. This makes visits even more informative. The confrontation of vision and sustainability becomes an additional topic also for the theory of architecture.

Le Corbusier Villa Zürich CH


Architecture is all around us. However, we rarely consider the build environment as “conditioning” feature of our life. Architecture is contributing extensively to our perception of “social space” (Bourdieu). Inner cities, suburbs or spacious residential areas have diverse impacts on our perception of, for example, security, modernity, health or sanitary sensations. The corona-crisis has made it clear to most people that a healthy environment is a very essential part of our perception of comfort. Here the psycho-social perception of living and/or working space enters into the co-creation of housing people. Technology is a big driver of change in housing, urban spaces and rural imagination. In order to avoid corona infections a new culture of working from home for the masses become a health-driven imperative. Payment without contact, home delivery of meals, food, books, medicine have changed the living style of many people. Too little movement for our bodies has caused another silent pandemic of obesity. Enough reasons to rethink architecture from a sociological perspective on it. This probably starts with speaking of architecture as architectures. By this we mean to think of architecture from its social origins, functions, impacts and perceptions. Great historical examples of architects have implicitly or explicitly formulated a social theory of architecture or space as the basis of their “concrete” realisations. The sociology of professions of architects and the many construction-related professions needs empirical foundation beyond the cliché of socialisation as artist versus technician. Still recent forms of participatory democracy as part of urban and rural planning as well as realisations. Participatory individual or community housing are likely to stay with us. People want to get involved in co-creating their living and working space as their social environment. Architecture as social process and specific layer of the network society will be the new mantra. It has always been there, implicitly. Up to us to strengthen the social discourse on architecture.