Casa Curutchet 
Boulevard 53 N° 320. 
La Plata 1900 
Argentina

Le Corbusier 1954

The most well-known piece of modern architecture in Argentina is Casa Curutchet in La Plata, about one hour south-east of Buenos Aires. Commissioned by an innovative surgeon, Pedro Curutchet, this is the only residential building erected in the Americas by Le Corbusier; however he never visited the site or met the client. The program included the house and medical practice, with all rooms open to the street taking into account the vistas of nearby parks.

Upon approach, the façade appears as a series of shifting planes, differentiating functions and separating space. Once passing through the framed entry on the open ground floor, the visitor is met with a large vertical open space containing a sweeping ramp. The ramp connects the ground floor to the rear living quarters at the mid-way landing, and then switches back to the medical quarters located at the front of the site. Further defining a visual separation, Le Corbusier stipulated the planting of a poplar tree, now mature, within this void between clinic and house.

The medical practice, supported on pilotis with brise-soleils, bridges the full width of the site. The clinic contains three clearly defined spaces; waiting room, examining room and maid's room. Essentially housed in a cube to the rear of the site, the living quarters contain a kitchen, dining room and double height living room with glazing towards the park, further bringing nature inside. The differentiation of space in the residential areas was to be defined by the placement of furniture and slab projections according to Corbusier's free plan. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms are on the upper floor, the master bedroom overlooking the double-height living room through wood levers. 

The drama of the house, its play between solid and void and concrete and nature is a wonderful example of the principles of Modernism, incorporating pilotis, ribbon windows, roof gardens, a free ground plan and free facades.

Now home to CAPBRA, Colegio de Arquitectos de la Provincia de la Buenos Aires, the house is open to the public.

Serianne Worden 2004 (updated 2009)

 


How to visit

To get there from Buenos Aires, take the Costera Criolla Bus to La Plata from inside the Retiro Bus Terminal (one hour). It's a twenty-minute walk from there. From the bus station, walk three blocks along Calle 42 (direction NE) to Avenida 1, walk ten blocks (direction SE) to Calle 54. From the train station walk along Avenida 1 (direction SE) for ten blocks to Calle 54.

This house is open to the public from Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm. You may tour the house with a guide. The house is not furnished.

$5.00 (pesos) for general public $2.00 (pesos) for students and senior citizens. Wednesday is free.

To confirm opening hours and charges please telephone +221 421 8032, fax + 221 482 2631 or visit www.capba.org.ar


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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