The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier (1887-1965) is considered one of the 20th century's most significant and influential architects. He is a key figure in the internationalisation of architecture and urban planning, which characterised the urban landscapes of the 20th century.

Maison Clarté in Geneva
The Maison Clarté in Geneva is an upscale residence containing 50 flats, built between 1930 and 1932 to the plans of Le Corbusier. ©
Facts and figures


17 buildings in 7 countries on three continents. They embody Le Corbusier’s key contribution to modernist architecture over five centuries.


Argentina, Belgium, Germany, France, India, Japan and Switzerland

Inscription on the World Heritage List



The work is a serial transnational property, as defined by Article 137 of the guidelines of the World Heritage Convention. The structures designed by Le Corbusier illustrate the profound transformation of architecture and the architectural profession in the twentieth century.

Why is it special

Le Corbusier was a pioneer and trailblazer in his profession. His works bear testimony to the influential development of modernist architecture.

La petite maison au bord du lac Léman (Villa Le Lac) was built by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret from 1923 to 1924. Le Corbusier called the second house that he constructed for his parents, in the village of Corseaux on the northern shores of Lake Geneva, "une petite maison". The single-storey property faces south to the lake. Le Corbusier termed the 16-metre long and only 4-metre wide house a 'machine for living'. That was his concept for a new type of residential property, one whose minimal internal spaces flow into each other and correspond to the daily needs of the modern world.

The Maison Clarté in Geneva is an upscale residence containing 50 flats, built between 1930 and 1932 to the plans of Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. The structure has a steel frame, at that time an innovation in housing construction. The various types of flat are grouped around two internal stairwells. It was also in the Maison Clarté that Le Corbusier introduced two-storey apartments for the first time. The house is a precursor and prototype of a modernism that by the 1950s had established itself throughout the world.

World Heritage and Swissness

Le Corbusier was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in 1887. From 1917 he lived and worked in Paris. He adopted his pseudonym, Le Corbusier, in 1920. He was one of the most important and influential representatives of modern architecture. His works bear witness to the international exchange of ideas that shaped the architecture of the avant-garde after World War I.

Le Corbusier’s work also embodies his key contribution to modernist architecture over five decades and represents a radical break with the styles, design methods, technologies, and construction practices of previous centuries. A synthesis of architecture, painting and sculpture is manifested in the buildings. Le Corbusier's contribution to modernist architecture can be found in the sum of structures and writings that continued to be disseminated throughout the world for half a century.