Segments in this Video

Emptying of the Convent of La Tourette (02:09)


A surge in religious vocations in France after WWII led to the building of the convent, but the turmoil of Vatican II and the 1968 student uprising left only one student by 1970.

Architectural Principles of Le Corbusier (01:39)

After buying the estate of La Tourette during WWII, Dominican Father Courturier charged Le Corbusier to build the Convent, following his architectural principles.

A Concrete Block On Pillars (02:09)

Le Corbusier sketched the site and located the convent high on the horizon, perched on concrete pillars reaching down to the irregular ground.

The Dominican Architectural Tradition (02:04)

The valley facade is 5 stories high, while the entrance is a modest 3 stories. The church, school, dormitories, and public space are quadrilateral following tradition and a Florentine pattern.

Universal Proportions of the Friars' Cells (02:34)

Le Corbusier constructed the friars' cells and loggias with a view of the valley and based their size and structure on the human figure according to his modular standard of universal proportions.

The Corridors and Sugar Lumps (01:19)

Concrete flower-like shields block views from the corridors where light enters from narrow slits, echoed by protruding blocks, inside and outside, that support the building.

Functionality and Modrian Squares (01:03)

Below the top two floors of cells, the lecture rooms, public rooms and library are open to the view by geometric windows and functional facades.

Undulatory Glass Panels (01:18)

Le Corbusier opened the walls of the refectory to the view. His assistant, Xenakis, designed the glass walls based on melodic intervals.

The Church Nave (02:33)

The church is separated from the buildings. Vertical and horizontal slits let in the morning and evening sunlight. Brightly colored horizontal vents replace stained glass windows.

The Crypt (02:17)

The crypt and sacristry form the transcept with the church. The crypt is lower and separated from the nave by a low screen. Light enters through 3 funnels.

Geometric Shapes in the Cloister (02:59)

Le Corbusier envisioned a ramp to the roof for processing friars, but it wasn't built. The cloister is in the courtyard where passages, or conduits, connect the buildings, meeting at the atrium.

Inexpressible Space (02:22)

Le Corbusier calls the design inexpressible space, the ineffable. The changing light of day on geometric shapes transforms the spaces and celebrates human creation over nature.

Credits: The Convento of La Tourette: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (01:04)

Credits: The Convento of La Tourette: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

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The Convento of La Tourette: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



Built between 1954 and 1961 at Evreux, near Lyon, by Le Corbusier, the legendary Convent of La Tourette was designed as a dwelling and a place of prayer and study for 100 Dominican monks, but after turmoil over Vatican II and the '68 student uprisings left only one student, the Domenicans allowed the convent to become a conference center. Le Corbusier's architectural principles are evident in the convent's design, placement and attention to geometry and light. La Tourette is considered one of the most important buildings of the late Modernist style.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL65325

ISBN: 978-1-60057-638-6

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

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