The new Dominican convent of Sainte Marie de la Tourette, at Eveux-sur-Abresle, near Lyons, France, was dedicated by Cardinal Gerlier, Archbishop of Lyons, on Oct 19.
GV Convent cells.
LV Wing of convent.
SILT DOWN..showing building built on concrete stilts.
SV Part of building.
LV Light vents on roof.
SV Another type of vent.
TOP V Centre of convent.
LV ENT..modern cloister.
SV Monks walking in cloister.
LV INT..dining room.
LV Monk walking towards living quarters.
LV Entrance to living quarters.
SV TRAVEL SHOT to door of room.
CU In room.
TOP V Monks in passage.
CU Monk taking book from shelf.
GV Monks in chapel.
SV Monks at altar.
SV M. Le Corbusier with monks.
CU M. Le Corbusier points to belfry.
GV of Convent.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The new Dominican convent of Sainte Marie de la Tourette, at Eveux-sur-Abresle, near Lyons, France, was dedicated by Cardinal Gerlier, Archbishop of Lyons, on Oct 19. It has been designed by the famous Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, and is built entirely from concrete.
It is intended as a place of retreat and study before young monks go out into the world as preachers, authors of religious works, missionaries and teachers. The convent accommodates 100 monks, tutors and students.
Work on the plans began in 1953 after the architect paid a visit to Eveux. But for two reasons the original project was delayed. The Dominican Father who entrusted Le Corbusier with this work (Father Couturier) died; and the Dominicans were short of money. But due to the sale of various properties and gifts of money from the faithful, building work started in August, 1956.
The foundations were laid ... and the first concrete supports went up. Le Corbusier was chosen by the Dominicans of Lyons to build a convent which was in no way a soul-less replica of the religious building art of the past. It had to be devoid of any of the false attractions of modern architecture - it had to have a direct contact with the 20th Century, and nothing of the architecture of the 13th Century.
Owing to the shortage of capital, work on the chapel was almost given up on more than one occasion. But each time, a solution was found, and work continued.
In July last year, the first students entered their cells and the chapel was completed the same month. From that day, the life of the convent had begun. The chapel is lit by slit windows and three big sky-lights, giving coloured lighting effects like stained glass.
Each cell now has a bed, table, desk, telephone and a little balcony. Colour is used economically in this massive building, which dominates a secluded valley.