quarta-feira, 10 de outubro de 2007

Beware of the architect

In spite of initial protests from the Savoyes, Le Corbusier insisted – supposedly on technical and economic grounds alone – that a flat roof would be preferable to a pitched one. It would, he assured his clients, be cheaper to construct, easier to maintain and cooler in summer, and Madame Savoye would be able to do her gymnastic exercises on it without being bothered by damp vapours emanating from the ground floor. But only a week after the family moved in, the roof sprang a leak over Roger’s bedroom, letting in so much water that the boy contracted a chest infection, which turned into pneumonia, which eventually required him to spend a year recuperating in a sanatorium in Chamonix.


‘After innumerable demands on my part, you have finally accepted that this house which you built in 1929 is uninhabitable,’ admonished Madame Savoye in the autumn of 1937. ‘Your responsibility is at stake and I have no need to foot the bill. Please render it habitable immediately. I sincerely hope that I will not have to take recourse to legal action.’ Only the outbreak of the Second World War and the Savoye family’s consequent flight from Paris saved Le Corbusier from having to answer in a courtroom for the design of his largely uninhabitable, if extraordinarily beautiful, machine-for-living.

Alain de Botton, no cada página mais imprescindível The Architecture of Happiness