Pavillon Le Corbusier – Zürich

Höschgasse 8, Zürich
Zürich , Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 383 64 70
Website: https://pavillon-le-corbusier.ch/en/
closed on: Open June 1 - October 30; closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Museum Type: Architecture / Urbanism
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The Pavillon Le Corbusier (formerly known as Centre Le Corbusier – Heidi Weber Museum) is a museum in Zürich, designed by and dedicated to the famous Swiss architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, best known as Le Corbusier.

The pavilion is Le Corbusier’s last project and the only museum designed by him in Europe.

In 1960, Swiss art collector Heidi Weber commissioned Le Corbusier, then 73 years old, an exhibition building where art, architecture, interior design, furniture, and landscape combined to form a total artwork where traditional boundaries between different creative disciplines were removed.

Initially, the architect decided to make a reinforced concrete building, opting for a steel construction later. Throughout his career, Le Corbusier rarely used steel as a structural material. Yet, it had experimented with it in some of his pre-war designs, such as the Weissenhof-Siedlung houses in Stuttgard (1927) and the Clarté residential building in Geneva (1930).

Le Corbusier’s adoption of steel for the Zürich pavilion was due to the peculiar form of the building, characterized by a large, structurally independent, roof which “protects” an array of boxes arranged on three levels.

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Pavillion Le Corbusier in Zürich, north and east elevations; longitudinal and transverse sections; original drawing courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York

These boxes – each 2.26 x 2.26 2.26 meters in size, the overall height of a man with a raised arm in the Modulor anthropometric scale – are clad with enamel-coated steel plates, colored with Le Corbusier’s preferred colors: white, black, red, green, and yellow. A large part of the building elements was prefabricated and assembled on-site.

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Pavillion Le Corbusier in Zürich, ground, second, and third-floor plans, original drawings courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Unfortunately, Le Corbusier died in 1965 while swimming in the Mediterranean sea at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Southern France, two years before the completion of the museum, which opened to the public on July 15, 1967.

Today, the Pavillon Le Corbusier is a venue chiefly dedicated to architecture, especially that of the museum itself. In 2016, indeed, Heidi Weber removed the permanent collection of Le Corbusier’s drawings, artworks, furniture, architectural models and documents after attempts to find an agreement between her and the city of Zürich, which owns the building, failed. The pavilion is currently used for temporary exhibitions, educational activities and special events.

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Pavillion Le Corbusier, views from west, south, and east; photos by Wojtek Gurak

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Views of the museum’s terrace and interior, photos by Kiwi 3rd

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Door decoration detail, photo by neogejo

Cover image by Franklin Heijnen


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