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Heidi Weber Museum
Guest book

Heidi Weber Museum 1964 - 2014

As Heidi Weber recalls, it was the good economic results and the great success of her work as an interior decorator which allowed her to even conceive of entrusting the architect with the project of a building.

Instead of a private villa, she came up with the idea of creating a public building. It would be an iconic building which would comply with the notion of a synthesis of architectural ideas that Le Corbusier had envisaged.

The property which Heidi Weber proposed to build initially raised some doubts amongst the city's legislators, as it was situated in a public area which was located in one of Zurich's most privileged zones.
 
In 1961, Le Corbusier first proposed a building in concrete. However, in April 1962, he proposed a new version in steel and glass, following the suggestions of Heidi Weber who, once again, displayed an active role in the project.

In 1980, Heidi Weber declared to Pierre-Alain Crosset: “To me, metal represented the new, the modern. I thought of concrete as belonging to a past period.” Charles Jencks recently agreed with this opinion, emphasising the fact that it was precisely Le Corbusier's last work which was his most advanced experiment with reference to light construction technology.

In fact, he not only finished his previous research, but this also represented a hypothetical starting point for a new steel aesthetic which would have been capable of further developments, had it not been paralysed by the architect's death.

Heidi Weber's insistence on a metallic construct was, therefore, happily combined with Le Corbusier's innate tendency to experiment with and to constantly search for new manners of expression.

The return to the notion of a metallic building was also a decisive factor for Le Corbusier, as it offered him an opportunity to put the construction system based on cubic (2.26 meters on each side) into practice. This was created according to the Modulor measures.

Le Corbusier usually attributed particular importance to the roof, to the point where the construction of the building actually started 'from the roof' down. The project was thus carried out in opposition to normal styles of construction: the roof came first and the Modulor-cubes were built or, rather, assembled, afterwards.

The roof structure is independent and it is clearly separated from the corps-de-logis. It is almost like a umbrella, which protects the building from both the sun and bad weather.

The interior space is marked by a metallic structure and two cubic units. The east side of the building has two floors which are connected by a small concrete staircase and the ramp.
    
In contrast to the static character of the space created by the cubic units, the ramp ascends from the basement, rising up (covered) from the ground floor and then it continues upwards (uncovered and in the open air) from the first floor to the terrace.

Heidi Weber, this “monster of perseverance” as Le Corbusier termed her in a dedication where he ironically referred to himself as “her victim,” has managed this last building for the past forty years with the same tenacity which helped her to overcome the almost insurmountable obstacles which she encountered while trying to build it.

Throughout this period, Heidi Weber has not been able to rely on any financial assistance or any subsidy from any Le Corbusier's friends. She has not received any funding from the Swiss governing authorities or any international organisation.

As Heidi Weber likes to say; “I never had a rich husband or a family inheritance. I have always enjoyed working hard to realise this building and to keep the Master's final work of architecture in steel and glass constantly radiant.”