Returning Villa Stein-de Monzie to its former glory
Judith DiMaio, NYIT Dean and Project Coordinator
Judy DiMaio first saw Le Corbusier’s buildings in and around Paris many years ago with her mentor, the éminence grise of architectural thought, Colin Rowe. It was on that trip she visited the Villa Stein, alas, only from the exterior, as it was privately owned. Today she and her team at the New York Institute of Technology are assisting Pierre Antoine Gaiter, Chief Architect for the Monuments of France, in restoring it.
History of the Villa Stein
Recognized worldwide, Le Corbusier designed spacious homes in middle class neighborhoods on the outskirts of Paris, though not all came to be built. The most striking is the house “Les Terrasses,” built in Garches on land that now belongs to the commune Vaucresson.
The Villa Stein-de Monzie house was designed for Michael Stein, brother of the writer Gertrude Stein, and his wife Sara, and later was home to Gabrielle Monzie, divorced from the radical socialist Anatole Monzie and faithful supporter of Le Corbusier. The luxury of these spaces disturbed those critics who worried about the social dimension of Modern Architecture.
British critic Colin Rowe compared the geometric grid pattern made with alternating wide and narrow horizontal bands, or zoning, of the Villa Stein with a similar strategy employed by Palladio for Villa La Malcontenta outside of Venice. In this way he compares the house, so to speak, with an unpacked box in space.
Michael Stein and his son in the garden with the Villa behind
The famous image of Le Corbusier, Michael Stein and others on the roof terrace
Villa Stein de-Monzie and the approach, 1929
Axonometric view of front of Villa
Axonometric of garden side of Villa
A booklet documenting the entire process is available on Page 4 or by clicking image.