A house – and a history – overshadowed by a cabin
Le Corbusier’s seaside cabin at Roquebrune-Cap Martin (between Monaco and Menton) is a rather flimsy structure. But this unassuming little wooden building has been familiar to fans of modern architecture since the ’50s when international photographer, Lucien Hervé, immortalised ‘le Cabanon’ and its famous proprietor. Hervé’s architectural photographs introduced Le Corbusier’s work to a wide audience extending from Europe to North and South America and India.
As a result the modest seaside cabin perched on its clifftop site is regularly visited by individuals and experts from all over the world. Film crews also take an interest, with Hungarian TV being the latest visitor. Architectural historians often regard the stark contrast between light and shade created by Le Corbusier’s work as the purest expression of the Bauhaus architectural style. Walter Gropius founded the’ Bauhaus School in 1919 in Weimar, Germany and the institution became famous for its revolutionary styles – and students – of architecture, design, photography, costume and even dance.
Yet the white house in front of the cabin is an equally significant building. Behind its rather odd name – the formula E-1027, disturbingly redolent of food additives or incarceration – lurks an extraordinary, even historic construction. It is a substantial seaside villa in the modern style, built to her own design and for her own use by Anglo-Irish architect and furniture designer, Eileen Gray, a pioneer of the Modern Movement. Miss Gray’s career had its heyday in the first two decades of the last century, and she died a recluse in Paris in 1976.
It would be wonderful to see this neglected building restored and replaced in its rightful place – which is, who knows, right next to Le Corbusier!
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