Germany is filled with UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Picturesque castles, historical cities like Weimar, sky scratching cathedrals, the entire half-timbered Altstadt (old town) of Bamberg. And now the country has one more.
On July 17, 2016, seventeen projects by famed architect Le Corbusier were inducted into the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in seven countries. Noted for his "Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement", the Le Corbusier houses in Stuttgart were just included in the list.
Who Was Le Corbusier?
Born in Switzerland in 1887 as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, he adopted his mother's maiden name in 1922 when he began his career in a partnership with his cousin, engineer Pierre Jeanneret. From there, Le Corbusier crafted an exemplary career pioneering European modernism. This is known as the Bauhaus Movement in Germany and the International Style in the USA. He led the modern movement with buildings in Europe, Japan, India and North and South America.
Le Corbusier Houses in Stuttgart
The Weißenhofsiedlung (or "Weissenhof Estate" in English) in the state of Baden-Wuertemberg was built in 1927 to showcase modern International style as well as economy and functionality. Called “Die Wohnung”, multiple world-class architects including Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and Hans Scharoun designed different elements of the housing estate with two of the buildings designed by Le Corbusier himself. These are the only Le Corbusier buildings in Germany.
Le Corbusier's semi-detached, two-family house fits the estate's style with modern grounds and minimalist interiors. Historians have described it as the "icon of modern architecture". Observe Le Corbusier's Five Points on Architecture in its monochrome facade with a long horizontal strip window, flat roof, and concrete canopy.
The other original Corbusier houses the Weissenhof Museum. The left, Rathenaustrasse 1, documents the origins and aims of the Weissenhof Estate, while the right, No. 3, features authentic Le Corbusier’s plans, furniture, and color scheme. Overall, it provides information on how radical a change in architecture this was amidst the turmoil of World War II. Get back in touch with the city on the roof terrace with panoramic views of Stuttgart.
After its construction, the estate was neglected. It was ignored by the Third Reich and partially destroyed during World War II. But in 1958 the entire Weissenhof Estate was classified as a protected monument and finally internationally recognized as an influential example of Classic Modernist architecture. In 2002 it was purchased by the City of Stuttgart to be preserved by the Wüstenrot Foundation. Despite its rough history, eleven of the original 21 homes remain and are currently occupied.
The site's recent inclusion in the World Heritage list makes it the first for Stuttgart and the 41st for Germany. The Le Corbusier Houses prove that Stuttgart has more than just machinery and cars, it is a home to high art in architecture.
Visiting Le Corbusier Houses in Stuttgart
Visit the website for hours and admissions information.
The Le Corbusier House has undergone extensive renovation work but has been open to the public since 2006.
Guided tours are available of the grounds and buildings. They provide exclusive insight into the listed building which includes the rich history of the site and Corbusier.