Les Heures claires de la villa Savoye, de Jean-Philippe Delhomme et Jean-Marc Savoye

2 min

The Bright Hours of the Villa Savoye (“Les Heures claires de la villa Savoye"), Jean-Philippe Delhomme and Jean-Marc Savoye

Les Heures claires de la villa Savoye looks back at the glory days of the masterpiece by architect Le Corbusier.

Les Heures claires de la villa Savoye, de Jean-Philippe Delhomme et Jean-Marc Savoye, éditions Les Quatre Chemins, 2015 © DR

A family business

An author, publisher and the creator of several websites dedicated to literature, Jean-Marc Savoye has worked at Gallimard. He is the grandson of Pierre and Eugénie Savoye, who commissioned the Villa Savoye.

Jean-Philippe Delhomme is an illustrator and novelist. Born in 1959, he began his career at the French music magazine Rock & Folk, then created illustrations for various international publications, including Vogue. He describes himself as a commentator on contemporary culture.


The Villa Savoye

Built in Poissy (Yvelines, France) between 1929 and 1931, the Villa Savoye was designed by Swiss architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier (1887-1965). Commissioned by Pierre and Eugénie Savoye, the building was designed both as a second home and as an architectural manifesto meeting “all functional needs”. The couple dubbed their house “Les Heures Claires” (“The Bright Hours”) while Le Corbusier saw it as a “machine for living”.

Jean-Philippe Delhomme and Jean-Marc Savoye's book describes the genesis of this project, bringing the period during which the house was inhabited back to life for their readers.


Bringing the past back to life

Based on memories and various documents, and in the absence of family archives, Jean-Philippe Delhomme has recreated the tale of this residence with the help of some fifteen colour illustrations. Occupied during the Second World War, transformed into an agricultural operation and saved from demolition by protesting architects and the support of André Malraux, the Villa Savoye embodies the famous “five points of modern architecture” (stilts, a roof garden, open plan interiors, the horizontal window and a free façade) formulated by Le Corbusier in 1927.


A prototype of twentieth-century architecture

With many imitations around the world and now visited by 40,000 people per year, the Villa Savoye was abandoned for a long time before being restored by the Ministry of Culture beginning in 1963. Open to the public since 1997, it has been listed as one of the historic monuments from its architect's lifetime, and since 2016 has been registered, along with 16 other works by Le Corbusier, on the UNESCO world heritage list.

The Institut français and the work

Les heures claires de la Villa Savoye, was translated into Korean (South Korea), in 2018, with the support of the Institut français. Through its translation support programmes, the Institut français participates in the global dissemination of French-language literature. Find out more about the translation support programmes here.