"Emergency security measures" called for after
vandals sack Le Corbusier's Ronchamp

| 4 comments
 

News: Le Corbusier's Notre Dame du Haut chapel at Ronchamp has been vandalised, prompting calls for urgent security measures to prevent further damage to one of the Modernist architect's finest works.

Le Corbusier Foundation call for emergency security measures after vandals sack Ronchamp
One of Le Corbusier's hand painted windows at Ronchamp, smashed by vandals

President of the Fondation Le Corbusier Antoine Picon spoke out after vandals broke into Le Corbusier’s chapel of Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp, on Friday. He called for the implementation of "emergency [security] measures regarding the site and building".

The vandals forced entry to the chapel, breaking a hand-painted, glass window signed by Le Corbusier. They then took a concrete collection box, which contained no money, and threw it outside.

Le Corbusier Foundation call for emergency security measures after vandals sack Ronchamp
The interior of Ronchamp, showing its curved soffit and irregular-sized windows

Picon called on the Association Oeuvre Notre-Dame-du-Haut, which own the chapel, to "better protect the heritage of the twentieth century and that of Le Corbusier in particular."

He also pointed to the church's poor structural and cosmetic state, citing in particular "moisture problems, infiltration and poor preservation of masonry."

Ronchamp was completed in 1955. Le Corbusier designed the chapel for the Catholic church on an existing place of pilgrimage.

Le Corbusier Foundation call for emergency security measures after vandals sack Ronchamp
Light streams into Le Corbusier's Ronchamp chapel through windows punctured in thick masonry walls

Its thick masonry walls, irregular window placement and massive curved roof evoke a sculptural quality not previously associated with the sparse functionalism of Corbusier's earlier buildings. Many critics consider the idiosyncratic chapel Le Corbusier’s finest work.

In 2011 Renzo Piano Building Workshop completed a monastery at the foot of the hill on which the Ronchamp chapel sits.

  • pavel

    A concrete collection box. That’s so Le Corbusier.

  • Jonzo

    How could they!

    • Antoine Raffoul

      Distant security cameras would have helped. Alternatively, 24-hour manned security details should be put in place. For now, as a Listed Building, the French Government should speedily undertake the repairs and implement security proposals.

  • rempire

    How come a site like this is not protected better?