it also incorporated what Le Corbusier called the architectural promenade, an “itinerary” that offers “prospects which are constantly changing and unexpected, even astonishing” (Le Corbusier and Jeanneret 1964, 24). Because it was freestanding, built in a field surrounded by orchards, the architect was able to apply his five-point program without the limitations imposed by tighter urban sites. It is an unadorned horizontal white box supported on pilotis and authoritatively imposed upon the natural surroundings. It has been concisely described by others: “The dominant element is the square single-storied box, a pure, sleek, geometric envelope lifted buoyantly above slender pilotis, its taut skin slit for narrow ribbon windows that run unbroken from corner to corner” (Trachtenberg and Hyman 2001, 530).


Villa Savoye, Poissy, France; Le Corbusier, architect, 1928–1931. Detail of external ramp leading to the rooftop and solarium.

The plan is almost square, organized on a 15.5-foot-square (4.75-meter) structural grid of posts that support the floors and roofs and carry the loads. The curved facade of the first floor allows an automobile to travel through a sort of undercroft. When family members alighted at the main door, the chauffeur drove on to the three-car garage. The radius of the curve is based on the turning circle of the 1927 Citroën. The servants’ quarters are on the first floor. Family members and visitors entered the brightly day-lit foyer and proceeded to the second floor via a curved stair, or the ramp that forms the spine of the plan. The second-floor rooms—small, irregular bedrooms, a kitchen, internal bathrooms (lit by skylights), and a spacious salon that opens to the outside through sliding doors—were surrounded by bands of sliding metal windows and grouped around three sides of a roof terrace. Le Corbusier designed ranges of built-in aluminum cupboards along the walls and concrete slab benches for most rooms, artificial lighting was provided by suspended troughs of fluorescent tubes, and there were open-hearth fires in the