On Friday, a nun gave a warning that the Chapel of Ronchamp, Le Corbusier’s iconic structure, and one of the key works of architecture in the last century, had been vandalised, reported Samuel Medina for the Metropolis Magazine.
When police arrived on the scene, they found signs of forced entry: a stained-glass window was broken and a concrete trunk was missing.
Frech newspaper Le Monde reported that the intruders had also attempted to enter through the door. “The overall damage was, according to some, ‘priceless’ because the stained-glass had borne an original illustration by Le Corbusier,” reports the newspaper.
An assessment from the department of historical monuments stated the window was irreparable.
The Fondation Le Corbusier, which protects the architectural and artistic works of the architect, insisted that emergency measures be taken to secure the protected site.
A statement delivered by president of the Fondation, Antoine Picon, called on the Association Oeuvre Notre-Dame-du-Haut to “better protect the heritage of the twentieth century and that of Le Corbusier in particular.” He also pointed out the church’s poor structural and cosmetic state, citing in particular “moisture problems, infiltration and poor preservation of masonry.”
Ronchamp is one of the most idiosynchratic works of Le Corbusier, blending traditional elements of a Catholic church with the architects own selection of symbols. Nearly 80,000 tourists visit Ronchamp annually, while the parish continues to use the church for services.