Maison Clarté
rue Adrien Lachenal

Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret 1932

Viewed on a gray rainy day, the Maison Clarté seems to have stood the test of time rather less well than other Le Corbusier buildings of the period - hence the departure from galinsky's normal practice to include a sunny contemporary photograph to complement the current ones.



'The client was Edmond Wanner, a Geneva industrialist, who also acted as contractor... The Clarté rises out of the complex street pattern like a stranded ocean liner. The lower level shops and entryways introduce a satisfactory street scale. The impact of the block is blunted by a curved podium with a facade of plate glass set into glass bricks.

The slab itself is formed from a steel armature of standardized elements, yet the building still makes a less memorable claim on the ideal of standardization than its much less standardized 1920s precedents, let alone its more polemical cousins, the Pavillon Suisse and the Cité de Refuge.

The apartments are double-height and have terraces made from cantilevered extensions of the slabs... The slabs in turn protect the facade from the elements and support colored awnings against the rays of the sun. There was a tentative beginning here of the idea of a sun-shade facade.'

William J.R. Curtis, Le Corbusier - Ideas and Forms, 1986



Simon Glynn 2002

How to visit

Rue A. Lachenal is on the north-east corner of Geneva's old town. To get there on foot from the pont du Mont-Blanc at the end of the lake, follow the road quai Général-Guisan past the Jardin anglais with the flowerbed clockface, as far as the place des Eaux Vives. Head south along this elongated place into the carrefour de Rive, then bear left up hill into rue A. Lachenal. The Maison Clarté is almost immediately on the left.

The building is not open to the public and no information is displayed about its history (or even identity).

Books and other web sites

Click the book title to view and to order direct from


0486250237_m.gif (4648 bytes) Towards a new architecture
Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier's original architectural 'manifesto', describing what he sought to achieve, as it first appeared in English in 1931. Accessible (if an unconventional style for today) and stimulating.

Le Corbusier: Ideas and forms
William J.R. Curtis

Readable (quite detailed) account of Le Corbusier's work, well illustrated and well structured.

Le Corbusier and the continuing revolution in architecture
Charles Jencks

A hefty but accessible analysis of Le Corbusier's life and work, drawing on his writing and painting as well as building design.


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