Good to know
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

Criteria for the inscription of the "Architectural Work of Le Corbusier"

To be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List,  UNESCO World Heritage properties must be of Outstanding Universal Value and meet at least one of ten selection criteria. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier meets criteria I, II and VI for its inscription.

Criterion (i): The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier represents a masterpiece of human creative genius, providing an outstanding response to certain fundamental architectural and social challenges of the 20th century.

Criterion (ii): The property exhibits an unprecedented interchange of human values, on a worldwide scale over half a century, in relation to the birth and development of the Modern Movement. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier revolutionized architecture by demonstrating, in an exceptional and pioneering manner, the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past. The property marks the birth of three major trends in modern architecture: Purism, Brutalism and sculptural architecture. The global influence reached on four continents is a new phenomenon in the history of architecture and demonstrates its unprecedented impact.

Criterion (vi): The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier is directly and materially associated with ideas of the Modern Movement, of which the theories and works possessed outstanding universal significance in the twentieth century. The series represents a “New Spirit” that reflects a synthesis of architecture, painting and sculpture. The Work materializes the ideas of Le Corbusier that were powerfully relayed by the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) from 1928. The series is an outstanding reflection of the attempts of the Modern Movement to invent a new architectural language, to modernize architectural techniques, and to respond to the social and human needs of modern man. The contribution is not merely the result of an exemplary achievement at a given moment, but the outstanding sum of built and written proposals steadfastly disseminated worldwide through half a century.

Integrity: The integrity of the series as a whole is adequate to demonstrate the way Le Corbusier’s buildings reflect not only the development and influence of the Modern Movement but the way they were part of its transmission around the world. The integrity of most of the component sites is good. At Cité Frugès, within the property, new buildings on three parcels of the site - one of which included a standardised house by Le Corbusier, which was destroyed during the war - are inconsistent with the architect’s concepts. At Villa Savoye and the adjacent gardener’s house, integrity is partly compromised by the Lycée and sports fields built on three sides of the original meadow that surrounded the villa in the 1950s. The setting of this site is fragile. At the Maisons de la Weissenhof-Siedlung, war-time destruction and post-war reconstruction has led to the collective integrity of the model settlement being affected by the loss of ten houses out of twenty-one. At the Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut, where Le Corbusier’s structure was built over a centuries-old pilgrimage site, the integrity of the site has been partly compromised by a new visitor centre and a nunnery near the chapel that cut Le Corbusier’s structure from its contemplative hillside setting. At the Immeuble locatif à La Porte Molitor, a new rugby stadium has been constructed right in front of the glass façade of the apartment block.

Authenticity: The series clearly demonstrates how it adds up to more than the sum of its component parts. For most of the individual component sites, the authenticity is good in relation to how well the attributes of the site can be said to reflect the overall Outstanding Universal Value of the series. At Cité Frugès, on three plots traditional houses were constructed replacing Corbusian structures, while elsewhere in the urban landscape, there is a partial loss of authenticity through neglect and interior changes. At l’Unité d’habitation, the fire of 2012 destroyed a small part of the building. This has now been totally reconstructed to the original design, but with some reduction in authenticity. The authenticity of the existing Capitol Complex could be impacted if either or both of the governor’s palace or the museum of knowledge were to be constructed, an eventuality that has apparently been discussed. At the Musée National des Beaux-Arts de l’Occident, the original intention for the forecourt of the Museum appears to be as a wide open space. Forecourt planting in 1999 tends to detract from the presentation of the building, its key views and the setting. Recent developments at Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut have partly compromised the authenticity of the site in terms of its ability to convey Le Corbusier’s ideas. At the Immeuble locatif à La Porte Molitor the new stadium has detracted from the ability of the glass walls of this site to convey its value, although without diminishing its authenticity. In terms of materials, some sites have been restored and partly reconstructed in recent years, after neglect or disfigurement. Overall, the modifications can be seen to be reasonable and proportionate.

You can find more information at