* Architecture: Renzo Piano’s Demure Additions to Le Corbusier’s Masterpiece – Quiet Additions to a Modernist Masterpiece, by Michael Kimmelman
Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 18 April 2012
A new convent and new visitors’ center, designed by Renzo Piano, has been inserted down the hill from Le Corbusier’s hilltop chapel.
Architecture: Renzo Piano’s Demure Additions to Le Corbusier’s Masterpiece – Quiet Additions to a Modernist Masterpiece, by Michael Kimmelman: “..What Le Corbusier called the chapel’s “ineffable space” derives not from Zen-like simplicity or Baroque extravagance but from this quasi-Cubist asymmetry of robust, jaunty, sensuous shapes, held in improbable equilibrium as if by a juggler on a tightrope. It’s a sculptural feat. Nowadays architects rely on digital technology to fashion swooping, soaring spaces that look as if they folded in on themselves. Ronchamp, by contrast, is the product of old-fashioned craft and serendipity, every surface different from every other, imperfectly, lovingly made…It is to Mr. Piano’s great credit that he didn’t aim for anything nearly as special. Le Corbusier had come to embrace primitive craft. Now buildings are assembled from products and systems. Mr. Piano’s additions are occasionally severe, what with all the glass, metal and hard angles, but light softens everything, especially the oratory, the convent’s hearth, where a hidden slot in the curved chancel wall, a subtle nod to Le Corbusier’s handling of filtered light in the chapel, lets in a consoling ring of sunshine..”
image: Iwan Baan, The New York Times; article: Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times