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Le Corbusier, An Architect’s Global Heritage

Posted on May, 26, 2016
Contributed to WCHV by Danielle

lecorbusierLe Corbusier was one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, and his work both built and written have had a enormous impact on the world. According to the UNESCO’s website, his work demonstrates major technical and conceptual changes of the Modern Movement in the field of architecture and Urbanism, and reflects an ongoing search for new forms as well as constructive principles and models for living. Le Corbusier wanted his work to be collective and universal, and accordingly he designed buildings not only in his native France but also in several other countries including Japan, Germany, Argentina and India. Le Corbusier was also a prolific theorist and his ideas were not only disseminated through his projects and constructions but also through his writings.

In the early 2000’s, France started creating a tentative list to be submitted to UNESCO to be featured on the World Heritage List at the time. Following this, and on the basis of a nomination project for the urban design of Firminy-Vert, where two works of Le Corbusier existed (without counting an unfinished project from that time), a review was conducted by the French Ministry of Culture and the Fondation Le Corbusier on the works of Le Corbusier that could and should be proposed for nomination for the World Heritage List. According to the UNESCO’s website, after initially focusing on the iconic monument of Le Corbusier, the reflection then turned to all of his work and the international influence that his work has had on the world. This analysis led to cooperation between several countries (France, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan and India) and a project to develop a trans-boundary nomination proposal centered on the series of his work and its influence at the international level. On France’s initiative, with the support of the Fondation Le Corbusier, an important preparatory work was initiated to examine the feasibility of a nomination proposal.

In order to provide international support the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement assisted in the organization of two international experts’ meetings by the Fondation Le Corbusier and the French Ministry of Culture. One of them took place at the Fondation Le Corbusier on 18 June 2004 in Paris, followed by a second in Firminy-Vert and at Couvent de la Tourette (France) on 19 June. These information, coordination, and awareness-raising meetings with international experts led to the launch of a working group to put in place a working method in order to develop a nomination proposal. The challenge within the context of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement (according to the UNESCO’s website) was to participate in an approach to promote modern heritage, underrepresented at that time on the World Heritage List, and to support reflection on the methodology of a serial and trans-boundary nominations.

Finally in 2008, the first proposal was submitted, and was examined during the 33th Session of the World Heritage Committee (Sevilla, 2009), but was referred, and was once again examined during the 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee (Paris, 2011), where it was deferred. A revised version was submitted in 2015.   France and six other countries have nominated 17 works as a single entry on the World Heritage List. The proposal will be reviewed again at the July meeting in Turkey, when the UNESCO World Heritage Committee reviews the nomination again.

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