Chapelle Ronchamp: Le Corbusier by himself

by Valentina Ieva
16 Love 9672 Visits

The last work by Xavier Delory, from the series Pilgrimage along modernity, is dedicated to the chapel Notre-Dame-du-Haut, built by Le Corbusier between 1951 and 1955 on the hill Bourlémont, Ronchamp (France).


The chapel was commissioned by the Dominican friars. Among them, was the father, Marie-Alain Couturier, who campaigned for the introduction of architecture and modern art in religious constructions.


At the time, the chapel’s architecture surprised a great number of architects and architectural critics who saw Le Corbusier as one of the fathers of functionalism who swore allegiance only to the right angle. 

East view ©Xavier Delory | Graffiti inspired by Le Corbusier's mural 'Spirales géométriques' realised at Eileen Gray's villa E-1027

Its round shapes inspired by the Vosges hills (audio visual) and the animal world (crab shell for the roof), appeared to them to be a betrayal of the theories of modern architecture.

Le Corbusier was not only an architect, he was also a painter and sculptor. He is the author of the phrase "synthesis of the arts" meaning an alliance between painting, sculpture and architecture. 

At first he thought about what painting and sculpture could bring to architecture, not playing a decorative role but rather "as a house guest." In a second phase, he moved this level of synthesis to a fusion of modern architectural styles at Ronchamp.

Northeast view ©Xavier Delory | Graffiti inspired by Corbusier’s murals 'Spirales géométriques' and 'Femme rouge et pelote verte' realised at Eileen Gray's villa E-1027


For Le Corbusier, Ronchamp is 'A synthesis of the arts', or perhaps 'novelty architecture' for the architect and theorist Robert Ventury. In his book “Learning from Las Vegas " (1972), the latter perceives the concept of “novelty architecture” as: architecture in which buildings and structure have an original, peculiar form, often with the aim of self-publicity, to stand out as a visually attractive object in the landscape, and sometimes just as a simple expression of the owner or architect’s eccentricity. Today, some architectural experts state that the architecture of certain 'star' architects (such as Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind or Zaha Hadid…) is “novelty architecture '.

South view ©Xavier Delory | Graffiti inspired by Le Corbusier's mural
'Spirales géométriques animées' realised at Eileen Gray's villa E-1027

North view ©Xavier Delory | Graffiti inspired the Le Corbusier’s mural 'Femme rouge et pelote verte' realised at Eileen Gray's villa E-1027


Cover image: Southeast view ©Xavier Delory | Graffiti inspired by Le Corbusier's murals 'Spirales géométriques animées' and 'Spirales géométriques' realised at Eileen Gray's villa E-1027

  • Gerald Krivoschokov

    Креативность Л.Корбюзье всегда будет восхищать потомков...

  • Joel Bernstein

    I like it better without the graffitti

  • mario patra

    perfect example for marvelous architecture.nothing can"t destroy it.even a la Picasso graffiti.

  • Philippa Haselgrove

    I visited Ronchamp in the company of Arata Isozaki. Lucky me! He had been having trouble making his wishes known, at the desk of the hotel, so tagged along with me. He said he had been waiting to see it for 35 years, and for me it was 25 years .

  • Philippa Haselgrove

    Met another architect on trip who said he had been wanting to visit Ronchamp for years, but was always pushed for time. But it is really. Could be a day trip (orless) . Catch train to Belfort ( near Swiss border), tske a taxi to Ronchamp (ours waited an hour for us), then take train to wherever... .

  • Philippa Haselgrove

    It is really easy! Forget the Basilicas of Europe, this is an honest building which you will never forget. I just hope the graffiti is a computer exercise!

  • Valentina Ieva

    Valentina Ieva


    Bari / Italy

    Laureata in Ingegneria edile-architettura, giornalista per professione, web writer per diletto. Amante di architettura, design, fotografia e libri di carta. Dipendente dai social, Instagram e InstaStories su tutti. Affamata di vita, viaggi e storie da scoprire. Qualunque forma d'arte mi affascina da sempre e non posso pensare una vita senza: emozioni forti, immaginazione, buona musica, cucina pugliese, sole e gatti. Per dirla con le parole di Battiato, non potrei vivere senza: ‘un soffio al)