Pavillon Le Corbusier – A Living Work Of Art In Zurich

Pavillon Le Corbusier Zurich

The Pavillon Le Corbusier is both a building and an art museum dedicated to Le Corbusier’s life work. The building, including all elements from the door handles to the windows, was designed by Le Corbusier himself as his last ever construction project.

Pavillon Le Corbusier, Zurich
Pavillon Le Corbusier, Zurich

Visiting The Pavillon Le Corbusier

A visit to the Pavillion is definitely worth it if you love architecture or Le Corbusier’s work. Sure, it is not in the top ten Zurich museums but is a unique museum nonetheless.

It is easy to reach the Pavillon Le Corbusier in Zurich. It is located along the shores of Lake Zurich near the Zurichhorn and can be reached via tram or by walking from Tiefenbrunnen station.

The Pavillon part of the Museum für Gestaltung but is often closed over winter.

AddressHöschgasse 8, 8008 Zürich
Opening TimesLate April – Late November
Tuesday – Sunday 12 noon – 6pm
Thursday 12 noon – 8pm
Entry PriceAdults: 12 CHF, Students/Pensioners: 8 CHF
Free EntryChildren under 16, Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Museum Pass, Zurich Card
WebsitePavillon Le Corbusier

Design

Le Corbusier designed his pavillion from beginning to end. So, not only did he design the exterior and interior, including windows and door handles, but also his furniture inside and landscaping around it. There are also various sculptures, paintings and some of his writings inside to create a so-called “Gesamtkunstwerk” or complete work of art.

Pavillon Le Corbusier inside furniture and art
Pavillon Le Corbusier inside furniture and art

The idea is that the building is an architectural work of art and a museum in one. And, the visitor can explore and experience the building in any way that suits their interests.

The structure of the Le Corbusier building is all about modern architecture with extensive use of prefabricated steel interwoven with colored enamemal plates. There is also a stunning free-floating roof overtop which protects the whole building from any rain or sun that may damage the museum.

Pavillon Le Corbusier outside walls and windows
Pavillon Le Corbusier outside walls and windows

There are some quite unique and interesting aspects of Le Corbusier’s design. For one, the building was designed with no load-bearing walls that so it had a free flowing interior design. It uses a modular design that is modelled on the average height of a person with their arm raised (2.26m). And many of the prefabricated steel elements combined with the steel frame meant that its construction was a relatively simple process.

Pavillon Le Corbusier entrance
Pavillon Le Corbusier entrance

The roof came first to enable the rest of the structure to be built under its shelter. There is a core which is a steel frame upon which the rest of the building was built. The rest of the building, both steel frames and enamal plates were screwed into place using more than 20,000 bolts in total.

You will also notice the typical colors of Le Corbusier are used on the enamel plates throughout the building – white, black, red, green and yellow.

History

Pavillon Le Corbusier landscaping
Pavillon Le Corbusier landscaping

In 1960, Heidi Weber, a collector and patron of the arts in Switzerland, had the idea to create a museum designed by Le Corbusier as a place to exhibit his work. The building was to be located in the Heidi Weber Museum.

Le Corbusier began designing the building and the first draft was ready for review in 1961. The original version was envisioned in concrete, however, the design was changed in 1962 to a steel and glass construction with a more modular design.

Construction of the pavilion began two years later and unfortunately, Le Corbusier himself died in 1965 and therefore missed the building’s inauguration on the 15th of July, 1967.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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