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Designs by pioneer of modern architecture nominated for World Heritage status


07-19-2016 01:28 BJT

Buildings designed by Le Corbusier, one of the fathers of modern architecture, are among those being considered for world heritage status at UNESCO's annual meeting. Seventeen constructions by the French-Swiss architect, designer and painter, have been jointly nominated by seven countries. Take a look.

Designs by pioneer of modern architecture nominated for World Heritage status

Designs by pioneer of modern architecture nominated for World Heritage status

UNESCO describes the work of Le Corbusier as 'an outstanding contribution to the modern movement'. In the 16th district of Paris stands Maison La Roche, which was built between 1924 and 1926 by Le Corbusier for his friend Raoul La Roche. Raoul wanted a house to be a kind of museum so art could be everywhere for his friends and visitors. This nomination for Maison La Roche by UNESCO for a World Heritage status is a significant one.

"For the foundation, this nomination represents several things. I think that the first one is the official recognition by UNESCO, and UNESCO is really important, of the work of Le Corbusier. And clearly reading the influence, the role he had, mainly during the 20th century, even if I think that during the 21st century he keeps playing this role, in a kind of revolution about architecture," said Michel Richard, director of Le Corbusier Foundation in Paris.

Richard adds that even though it's been 90 years since Maison La Roche was completed, Le Corbusier still remains an important influence on architecture in the 21st Cenutry. The foundation of Maison L Roche is housed in two buildings that are linked together, and is open to visitors.

Richard says that despite Le Corbusier's stern demeanor, the man was actually a free-spirit and a creative thinker.

"I think that he was really free. It's actually very curious because the image that he gave, and for which he contributed, is an image of a formalistic man, very strict, and even very annoying because of his dogmatism. But in reality, when we look into his work, in a sensitive way which means, going into his buildings, visiting it, walking into it. I'm lucky to be able to, with people working here, to work inside a work of Le Corbusier, spending lots of hours here, and this is actually a really sensitive experience. I think that when you have this experience, what we keep in mind, apart from the strict image he had, is his freedom," said Michel Richard.

From Paris to Tokyo, Le Corbusier's works can be admired at sites around the world.
This grey concrete structure stands at the entrance of Tokyo's Ueno Park and is one of the 17 structures designed by Le Corbusier recommended to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage.

The main building of the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo is the only architecture designed by Le Corbusier in Japan. The three-story museum was built in 1959 and has long been the venue for major art exhibitions frequented by Japanese art enthusiasts.

"I think it's okay to say that this is an ideal museum where the architecture and the work of art that is displayed in it are in integrated harmony," said Kazushige Yamashita, vice director of National Museum of Western Art.

Le Corbusier left an enormous body of work, including some 30,000 architectural plans, 7,000 watercolor paintings, 500 oil paintings and 52 books. He was perhaps as famous for his philosophy of architecture as for his actual masterpieces. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 10th to the 20th of this year.

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