Gaines Group Architects

11. Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier #105architecturalinspiration

Clearly one of the greatest architectural creations of our time, Notre Dame du Haut, 1954, was designed by Le Corbusier. Located in Eastern France this is a pilgrimage chapel (many of those pilgrims are architects these days). It sits on a hill above the village of Ronchamp. Much of the stone used in the project came from the previous chapel on the site that was destroyed in WWII.


The walls are thick, in one place 10′ thick creating an incredible spatial experience. The building has a massive sculptural form. The roof seems to float above the walls. The curves are subtle and deliberate. To say this project is inspirational does not do it justice. The play on light vs mass is brilliant. Finding ways to incorporate this beauty into modern day architecture is difficult, but it is a challenge we should all strive to achieve on at least one project in a career.


Learning from the masters, like Corbusier, is a staple for architectural education. Understanding his use of form, shape, space, light, texture allows you to more fully understand the power of design. Using his lessons allows you to shape experience for the user of the structure. It is a powerful weapon in design. We should all be thankful for Corb and the beauty he has inspired along with the beauty he created.

#105architecturalinspirations is a collection of architectural details, buildings, and spaces that inspire me. I am taking on the challenge of finding two projects to spotlight each week in 2015. Hopefully I will be able to keep up and this process of discovery will push me to create better design solutions for my clients as I research and learn more about those projects I enjoy most. I challenge you to add your comments below about this project and to post your own inspirations for all to enjoy. 

Full List of previous #105architecturalinspiration posts

1. Jefferson’s Academical Village

2. Charleston, South Carolina

3. Solar Decathlon

4. National Museum of the American Indian

5. Lighthouses

6. Hatch Show Prints

7. The Aqua Tower in Chicago

8. Chicago Theatre Marquee

9. Samuel Mockbee

10. Richard Meier