Le Corbusier - The Cloister La Tourette

The Dominican Monastery of La Tourette is Le Corbusier's last major work in Europe. The Monastery comprises 100 individual 'cells', communal library, classrooms and refectory, a rooftop cloister and church. 

Many of Le Corbusier's long-established practices are here: the pilotis (load-bearing columns) inside the walls freeing the façade of the walls for long strip windows, the grassed rooftops and the carefully planned 'architectural promenade' with ramp, all go back to the Villa Savoye thirty years earlier. Above all, Le Corbusier was trying here "to give the monks what men today need most: silence and peace... This Monastery does not show off; it is on the inside that it lives."

Much of the atmosphere of the building, inside even more than out, comes from the carefully proportioned floor-to-ceiling glazing used in many of the public areas - the Chapter room and refectory with their commanding west-facing views over the valley, the library, and approach to the church. The unevenly-spaced ondulatoires (the vertical concrete mullions) and the similarly uneven horizontal divisions between them were designed according to Le Corbusier's Modulor system of proportions by Yannis Xenakis, a musician as well as an architect, applying musical principles of harmony and rhythm.

The climax of the architectural promenade is the ramp down to the entrance to the church: an austere, concrete corridor but for its unevenly-rhythmic glazing, leading to a stern metal wall, which rotates to give access to the dark, colored glow of the church beyond.

Sivakumar Thangavelu (Youtube)