Le Corbusier, Immeuble Clarté, Geneva (Switzerland), 1930

Le Corbusier, Immeuble Clarté, Geneva (Switzerland), 1930

The immeuble Clarté is a rental building with 9 floors and 50 apartment regrouped around two stairwells. It was designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret and was built during 1931 and 1932.

The building base is mounted to a standard steel structure (designed by civil engineer Robert Maillart) from prefabricated pieces. It allows the two facades to be entirely glassed (double gazing, sliding windows, glass doors, etc), open plan and multiples options for the development of the apartments within (patio, studio, duplex…).

The goal of Le Corbusier was to allow the middle class to live in a “town house” : all of the frame is based on pillars which free the interior walls and facades from any portative function and allow a diversity of apartments, the corridors represents interior streets, there are garages on the southern façade, the roof is composed of terraces, there are five shops in the ground floor and several common services such as warehouses, machinery kept heating for bicycles, parking and trash.

With regards to the interior design of the apartments, Le Corbusier created a selection of wallpapers and the renters were able to choose the color in the one proposed. Concerning the furniture, only models of closets, kitchen and bathroom elements and toilets were imposed. The polychromy of the apartments was limited to light blue and dark brown, to form the volumetry of the rooms by correcting or extending the light.

This immeuble Clarté is one of the biggest example of the Modern Movement in architecture, thanks to its facades in iron and glass and its balcony in wood conferring horizontal lines. It was classified historic building in 1986 and has been listed in UNESCO World Heritage sites since 2016.

References :

– Collectif, « Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret – Restauration de l’immeuble Clarté, Genève », 2016.
– « Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret : Oeuvre complète de 1929-1934 », Boesiger Zurich, Willy. Les Editions d´Architecture Zurich. Switzerland, 1984.

Authors : Armand Perrot, Sara De Boeck, Louise Daugas