The Pavillion Le Corbusier owes its existence to one pioneering woman, Heidi Weber. An interior designer, gallery owner, and patron of the arts, Weber commissioned Le Corbusier to create the perfect exhibition venue for her collection of Le Corbusier’s paintings, drawings, tapestries, sculptures, lithographs, and furniture. Le Corbusier designed the building as an architectural legacy of sorts, embodying his design principles such as prefabrication, access ramps, rotating doors, roof gardens, and the architectural promenade.
During the 1960s, Swiss women could not vote or sign their checks. However, Weber was able to obtain building rights and negotiated a 50-year lease of the land on Blatterwiese meadow from the City of Zurich. Construction began in 1964, but was interrupted by Le Corbusier’s death in August 1965.
After numerous setbacks, the building was finally inaugurated in 1967. It features a free-floating steel roof separated from the actual building, a flat terrace underneath, and a structure made of prefabricated steel cubes connected with over 20,000 bolts.
When the lease on the land expired in 2014, ownership passed to the City of Zurich and an ugly legal battle ensued. The lease agreement stipulated that the City of Zurich would reimburse 70 percent of Weber’s investment costs (1.5 million CHF in 1964), yet no provisions were made at the time for indexation. As a result, in 2014, Weber received only 1.06 million CHF for the building, although a former director of Sotheby’s estimated its worth at 40 to 70 million CHF.
Weber had the archives, the library, and all of the original Le Corbusier furniture removed from the house before handing the structure over. The City of Zurich renamed the building from the original Heidi Weber House/Le Corbusier Center to Pavillion Le Corbusier in 2016.
This architectural gem along the shores of Zurich Lake was extensively renovated and repaired from October 2017 to February 2019. Weber did not assist in the opening of the Pavillion Le Corbusier in May 2019.
Know Before You Go
The Pavillion Le Corbusier is open from May to November, Tuesday-Sunday 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., Thursday 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. To prepare your visit or visit virtually during the winter months, an e-tour is available here.