An international perspective

Villa Savoye

Villa Savoye, Poissy, France

Copyright: John Donat / RIBA Library Photographs Collection


The Villa Savoye is an iconic example of the International Style which developed in the 1930s. Of course, it looks entirely different to the villas built by Palladio in and around Vicenza. Nevertheless, it does have a number of things in common with its Italian predecessors.

Designed as a weekend country house in a small village about 18 miles from Paris, it follows Palladio’s traditional definition of the function and location of a villa.

Le Corbusier’s most famous motto was a “machine for living” and this too retains something of Palladio’s philosophy of the utilitarian nature of the villa.

Visually the Villa Savoye can also be seen to nod towards Palladio. The idea of a piano nobile is still visible: Le Corbusier’s horizontal windows, which break up his concrete construction, give the impression of an important upper storey behind which lie the major apartments of the building.