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Sainte Marie De La Tourette

Eveux, France
1 of 34

Sainte Marie de La Tourette is a Dominican Order priory in a valley near Lyon, France designed by the architect Le Corbusier and constructed between 1956 and 1960.

La Tourette is considered one of the more important buildings of the late Modernist style. It was under the instigation of Reverend Father Couturier that the Dominicans of Lyon charged Le Corbusier with the task of bringing into being at Eveux, near Lyon, the Convent of La Tourette, in the midst of nature, located in a small vale that opens out onto the forest.

The buildings contain a hundred sleeping rooms for teachers and students, study halls, a hall for work and one for recreation, a library and a refectory. Next comes the church where the monks carry on alone. Finally, the circulation connects all the parts in particular those which appear in a new form (the achievement of the traditional cloister form is rendered impossible here by the slope of terrain).

The structural frame is of rough reinforced concrete. The panes of glass located on the three exterior faces achieve, for the first time, the system called "the undulatory glass surface". In the garden-court of the cloister, the fenestration is composed of large concrete elements reaching from floor to ceiling, perforated with glazed voids and separated from one another by "ventilators": vertical slits covered by metal mosquito netting and furnished with a pivoting shutter.

The corridors leading to the dwelling cells are lit by a horizontal opening located under the ceiling. Though still functioning for a greatly-reduced population of monks, La Tourette has become something of a pilgrimage site for students of architecture. Overnight stays can be arranged in the unused cells.

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