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A Narrative Approach Upon The Precedent Study Of :

Villa La Roche by Le Corbusier



         The Architectural Promenade was Corb’s idea in having the visitor walk in a specific manner and route throughout the house, in order to execute a specific experience of moments and space and develop a separation of private versus public gatherings. Being that Villa La Roche was designed for a Swiss banker and collector of Avant Garde Art, the house can be recognized as an art piece in itself, especially, for the emphasis on the house as a living machine for the human pleasure and escape. One can compare the house and its moments to actual visuals of an art piece. It seems to me that there is a correlation between art and the design of this villa. Avant Garde Art is usually abstract, entailing of deeper emotions and secrets whether dark or bright, while in more visionary art entailing politics, society and cultures for a silent understanding and demonstration. Perhaps, this gives explaination to the L shaped plan of the house, in where the two different plane directions x and y are an implication of different spaces (private versus public). Corbu enhances this idea of two different planes by designing the art gallery, which is on the y-axis of the L shape, using his signified ear lobe design for the art space. From the top view, the design of the space is shaped as an ear that allows for a curved escalating ramp from the gallery space to the library, which may be a very important detail of his design considering the many other special moments in the house that incorporated light. In many of the works done by Corb, one can find the ear lobe design to distinguish special public spaces and to identify human proportions with the clarity of a spatial design.

         As you first step in front of the house you are adjacent to the right of the art space, which also acts as an underpass for the garden area. A few more steps ahead of the entrance you are faced with two staircases one to the left and one to the right, but the light coming in from a bay window at the top of the left stair compels you to its direction, while the right stair is much more darkly hidden. When the visitor turns to their left, as anticipated, one finds the start of the visitor's promenade that leads you to a balcony in where then you can observe from the second floor to the lobby of the villa's main void and across to the hidden staircase, which foreshadows the resident's promenade. Still, what is intriguing is the detail of the house and the nuances of windows and positions of natural light that influence the visitor and resident's path throughout the house. The light guides the visitor through a promenade leading to the Art gallery to his left, in where, you find a special moment or entry to the Library on the third floor, The Art Gallery being the only access way to the third floor holding a space for the client, La Roche who was an advent reader. Maybe there was a parallel in meaning for the library, alluding illumination. Again the public spaces are pointed out in this house through the Y-axis. As the visitor proceeds back down from the library to the gallery of the house, one acknowledges the light strips of ribbon windows which provide an incredible space and experience in the gallery. Once the visitor comes back down from the library, the continuation of the promenade is to the right, It is where the visitor finds a special place and moment of a bridge, or better known as a cat walk, defined by Corb's ribbon window that sheds most of the light into the main lobby and onto the first balcony, where one is able to look over the space while at the same time being able to look out into nature.

        Corb's promenade, after the catwalk, is led to the more private spaces of the house into the dining room or around the main void of the lobby, which is now the private section of the home. The visitors can either proceed to Roche's studio or down the preliminary hidden stairs and out of the home, while the residents can go up the stairs into their private bedroom and rooftop patio. At the beginning of the promenade, the visitor is kept away from the darker and hidden right staircase of the private section to evoke the visitor's promenade. Through it all, it is the use of light that is important in many different ways as Corb uses light to demonstrate and implement direction throughout the house. Moreover, there are small techniques that Corb uses to demonstrate notions of purism such as in the dining room of the Villa, Corb uses used purist colors to implement comfortable emotions and abstract environments. He looks to create spaces that would place people in a different, more suspenseful and exciting emotion. The use of the bay and ribbon windows can be defined as an attempt of providing extra light for the house's residents and visitors pleasure and one can argue Corb was an avid believer in the necessity of natural light and exercise as an instrument for healthier lifestyles, which explains most of the walking to support his promenades. Corb even used specific materials and furniture to further the allure of the natural elements and proportions that played their part in the house.

         Villa Jeanerette, the opposing unit in the building lot, also has a very interesting program in which one can study the different homes designed by Corb whom was trying to convey different spaces of living to the visitors and residents. Jeanerette was for his cousin Pierre and its program was unique because it proclaimed the need for outdoor nature and excessive light in areas where people gather. In Jeanerette, the dining room, kitchen and living room are in the third floor alongside the roof garden;­ while the private spaces are in the first two bottom floors. In its difference, Corb created gathering spaces above the normal grounds of pedestrians to further enhance the hierarchy and differentiate the home-living areas from the visitor's outside world. He placed areas of dining and gathering above the ground floor and elevated the importance of indoor public spaces through its gathering areas. In contrast to Villa La Roche, as he was trying to create special spaces through the configuration of the promenade, with light and purist colors, and the juxtaposition of form. My argument is that in Jeanerette there was a greater interest in the hierarchy of private versus public spaces through the stories of the building while in La Roche it was differentiated through the form of the building. Still in both sides of the houses you can see the affirmative study of hierarchy as he uses for the program(s) a spatial setting of important spaces. Although, unlike in La Roche there is no promenade in Jeanerette, it is much more private, perhaps due to their different purposes. In all, Corb was one of those architects who established the idea of a designer's influence upon the human health, ­­­social experience and activity through the built form.

         Corb has introduced the five points of architecture, which developed a new style of architecture in modernism that allowed for the manifestation of different programs and creative facades. Through the five points he was able to enhance a designer's influence upon residential or a visitors' activity. Therefore, in Villa Placer I will look to design a home that promotes the idea of Live, Work, Play, to create a healthy living environment. The house will develop an interaction between these three definitions through public and private spaces while touching on Corbs techniques of the five points of architecture but further developing its purpose into designing for the five senses of the human being for ultimate pleasure. Each designed space will have its purpose and will interact with the visitor differently for a suspenseful but intriguing environmental study of how light and shade, architectural fashion, acoustics, materials and a promenade can develop a sense of style and purpose for designing.



Circulation, Private vs Public

A Tonal showing the circulation according to the amount of light in the Villa. As you can see there is much more natural light in the public areas than in the private.


The CatWalk bridge coming out of the gallery which allows yo to see the main void and the previos balcony. 

The ramp, which leads to the library, in the Art Gallery lit by the Ribbon Window.


Entrance to the Promenade guided by light onto the balcony.


Exit of the Promenade and the hidden stairs to the private area.

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