L’Esprit du Sacré: Le Corbusier and the necessary Utopia of Sainte Marie de La Tourette

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Le Corbusier


“L’homme qui recherche l’harmonie a le sens du sacré”. In this way Le Corbusier claims the main difference between holiness and spirituality. In the omitted comparison, it is clear that the Architect's main interest is to highlight the strong laical and spiritual character of which is harmonious both in Nature and Architecture. Thanks to this approach, the democratic reception of the spiritual feeling overcomes the sacred one which remains linked to semantics stratifications that still require interpretation. In order to develop a democratic vision to community life, Le Corbusier entrusts the rules of a daily living, with the contingent possibilities of a community such as the Dominican one and also with the need to individual seclusion, celebrating immanence and silence. “Loger dans le silence des hommes de prière et d’étude et leur construire une église”.

The celebration of both prayer and community life is what Le Corbusier wants to achieve, without distracting attention from the main purpose of the spiritual and individual growth, that nourishes the utopian function of this project. This shares a common research with the other architectures conceived for a community life such as l’Unité d’Habitation or the Swiss Pavilion.   This is the way the liturgical spaces welcome daily life evaluating un homme de 24 heures, arranging an hermeneutical relationship between places for gathering and meditation. From this we can acknowledge that architecture of the Le Corbusier’s Convent, allows holy inspirational feelings among liturgical and environmental spaces. All this is due to an hard intellectual work based on humanism, far from faith, but open to spiritual values and mystical feelings which place Beauty as an existential motivation for a religious work, including human dimension and the answers to his needs.



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