Conservation France

Le Corbusier’s Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut vandalised

Stained glass window that carried Modernist architect’s signature shattered

An architectural gem: Le Corbusier's Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France. Photo: Duncan Standridge

The Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France—an architectural gem and one of Le Corbusier’s best-known buildings—was vandalised on 17 January. Following a break-in, a concrete collection box was thrown outside and one of the stained-glass windows, also designed by the Modernist architect and the only one on the chapel to carry his signature, was broken.

The irreversible damage to what the Fondation Le Corbusier’s president Antoine Picon calls “one of the most iconic and most fragile elements of the chapel,” which was completed in 1954 has been listed as a national Historical Monument since 1967, has sparked controversy over the state of preservation of the structure. The chapel is a working religious building and is under the guardianship of the private foundation Association de l’Oeuvre de Notre-Dame du Haut.

While tickets are sold to 80,000 visitors each year, the chapel “is quite literally falling apart”, says the expert William J.R. Curtis in a piece to be published next month in the Architectural Review. Picon, meanwhile, has publicly called upon the Association de l’Oeuvre de Notre-Dame du Haut to “better protect the heritage of the 20th century”.

The stained-glass window with Le Corbusier's signature, before it was broken
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7 Apr 14
15:26 CET


Horrible. So sad.

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