Saturday, September 23, 2023



Two different buildings. (in Paris) Four different versions of the Corinthian Capital. One interior, three exterior. One pilaster, three round columns. Two smooth shafts, two fluted.

Differences also in the proportions, the separation and stylisation of the acanthus leaves, the representation of the hibiscus flower, top centre. I could go on.


Some years ago, in the wake of Project Soane, I developed a modular system for assembling classical columns. I wasn't aiming to show all the intricate detail, just a quick way to create a placeholder that captured the essentials.

All part of that little enterprise I call "the way we build"


Reviewing the Villa Savoye windows in the light of Sunday's visit. It seems to me that there is sub-frame made from square tube. This defines a series of rectangular spaces. Into these spaces fit either a standard two-pane slider, or a fixed light (or in one case a centre pivot)

These infill units seem to be fabricated from flat bar, for the most part. This gives the sliders a very narrow profile in plan, but at the overlap there is a return on both lights. Call it a weather baffle.


My hypothesis about the distribution of sliders and fixed lights was mostly correct. Just in the master bedroom, the fixed panel flips to the other end.

Really enjoying the motivation that visit provided. Just pushing things up a notch. I will probably come back to all these families and rebuild them from scratch at some point. But it's a bit like doing a painting. You need to keep all the areas moving forward in parallel to some extent. Do a bit here, do a bit there, stand back and think, rework the first part, etc etc.



Updating my Revit model of Villa Savoye yesterday, based on last Sunday's visit to the real thing.

Photos are great especially for looking back and noticing the fine detail but there is nothing to replace actually being there. So I'm trying to make the best of my images while memories are still fresh.

These are the secondary bedrooms. I have coloured the beds green so they pop out against the peach walls. The yellow is the master bed position, but not really worked on that area since the visit.

The main insight here, (apart from the peach colour of selected wall surfaces) is the way the walls defining storage units are topped off around head height. So the wardrobes stand free in the space.

Not quite there yet, but a significant leap forward.


Le Corbusier is such a difficult guy to pin down, simultaneously claiming to be the height of functional rationalism and an artist of raw emotion.

Here are some of the unusual geometries found in Villa Savoye. I had spotted some of this before my visit, poring over images from various sources as I built my Revit model. But there were a couple of surprises.

The aerofoil shape of the two columns that break the long west-facing opening of the main terrace for example. Very difficult to spot on photos. I suppose it's meant to minimize their obstruction of the view. Does it really make a difference?

I am left with the impression that a lot of the details were worked out on site. I think that's a good thing on the whole. Active collaboration between architect and builder. Not easy to do in today's aggressive contractual atmosphere.

And the walls are so THIN! Exposed ribs like a famine victim 🤔 A weekend home with the thermal properties of a tent? (forgive my hyperbole)

So much to think about after this visit.


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