Le Corbusier’s work – the houses in the Weissenhof housing estate
It is impossible to see into the future. But in 1927, whoever saw the new Weissenhof housing estate in Stuttgart found themselves in the 21st century – the concept and architecture were so groundbreaking. Two of the houses in this estate, designed by Le Corbusier, were elevated to the status of UNESCO World heritage sites in July 2016. Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887 – 1965), better known as Le Corbusier, was a pioneering thinker of modernism as an architect, urban planner and designer. The word “star architect” could have been invented for him; around the world, his buildings are still icons of new times, a new attitude and way of life. A whole 17 of his works have been accepted into the World Heritage List; seven countries on three continents submitted the application jointly.
Ahead of their time
The Weissenhof housing estate, also called the Werkbundsiedlung, was an enormous laboratory of the future: 33 buildings, eleven of which are still standing today, were built there under the direction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Together with Le Corbusier’s “Haus Citrohan”, his pair of semi-detached houses was and continues to be one of his most spectacular designs: airy and light, it rests on slender pillars, strict and elegant at the same time, with – back then an incredible luxury – generously-sized roof deck, living spaces that could be varied in their division and an ergonomically designed fitted kitchen.
Weissenhofmuseum Time Capsule
The first floor of the pair of houses is now home to the Weissenhofmuseum, a fascinating snapshot in time of the Werkbund exhibition of 1927. Room arrangement, colouring, and even pieces of the furnishing correspond precisely to the original. And they are an impressive demonstration of why Le Corbusier is regarded as one of the most important architects of the 20th century.