Drawing, Villa Stein-de Monzie, Garches, France: First Studies, 1926
Graphite on white paperboard, mounted on canvas. Museum purchase from James B. Ford and Peter Cooper Hewitt Estate Funds. 1936-60-2
What is this?
Four drawings for Villa Stein-de Monzie, at Garches, France: facade elevation view at upper left, rear elevation view at upper right, facade aerial perspective at center, left, rear aerial perspective at lower, right.
Why is this important?
After modern art collectors Michael and Sarah Stein saw Le Corbusier’s rational, machine aesthetic approach to living at the 1925 Paris Exposition, they and their friend Gabrielle de Monzie commissioned him to design a two-family home in a Paris suburb. The Steins were proud to help usher in a new modern movement, giving the architect one of his first opportunities to realize his avant-garde architectural credos. The collaboration between architect and clients was apparently a positive one, though the design went through many changes, even after construction began. This early drawing depicts, clockwise from top left, the facade elevation, rear elevation, rear aerial perspective, and facade aerial perspective. Le Corbusier believed a house was a “machine for living in,” and the working sketches show the factory-like nature of his aesthetic. He eliminated decorative ornament in favor of clean, rhythmic lines and embraced both new technologies like reinforced concrete and classical principles of geometry, rational structure, and open spaces. Completed in 1927, the villa was nicknamed “Les Terrases” for its suspended, open terraces, visible in the aerial perspectives. The combination of interior and exterior, also found in the roof garden, was a key component of modernist architecture at the time.