Le Corbusier to be snubbed by UNESCO

Image: Getty

A UNESCO advisory body has recommended against awarding world heritage status to 19 buildings designed by French architect Le Corbusier, located in six countries.

The recommendation was made by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a cultural conservation organisation.

UNESCO’s official decision is to be made at the ordinary session of the World Heritage Committee in Paris this month, and it is seen as unlikely that the buildings will be registered.

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The 19 buildings were nominated by France as examples of the designer’s considerable contribution to modern architecture and include the National Museum of Western Art in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

ICOMOS claimed that the buildings do not clearly ‘demonstrate remarkable universal significance of the modern architectural movement’ and that ‘Le Corbusier was not the only architect who promoted the modern architectural movement, in which many architects participated’.

However, ICOMOS suggested that three of the buildings – Villa Savoye in Paris, the Unite d’Habitation housing development in Marseille, France, and the Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp, France – should be nominated individually as examples of masterful architecture.

The National Museum of Western Art could potentially be added to the World Heritage register, according to ICOMOS, as a building that ‘shows the exchange of values that greatly influenced the development of architecture.’

ICOMOS had previously advised against adding Le Corbusier’s work to the UNESCO register in 2009. At the ordinary session of the World Heritage Committee that year, the committee declined to recognise the buildings, citing insufficient information.

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