Couvent Saint Marie de la Tourette [Sainte-Marie de la Tourette. Eglise du couvent de la Tourette]
Le Corbusier, Iannis Xénakis
André Wogenscky, Fernand Gardien, Séchaud et Metz (mai 55), Y. Bloch
Concrete by reinforcement
Concrete is a relatively brittle material that is strong in compression but less so in tension.
To increase its overall strength, steel rods, wires, mesh or cables may be embedded in concrete before it sets. This reinforcement, often known as rebar, resists tensile forces. By forming a strong bond, the two materials are able to resist a variety of applied forces, effectively acting as a single structural element .
In this case, the concrete can be made by mixing the components directly on site, or it may be transported from a production plant in concrete-mixer trucks.
This method has the disadvantage of leaving the concrete exposed to the elements while it is setting. Whereas, with other methods, the environmental conditions can be controlled during setting, providing greater control over the outcome, with cast-in-place concrete a series of tests and protocols are necessary to verify its final strength.
- textured walls
- wooden formwork finish
- stamped concrete
- exposed aggregate concrete, colored concrete, etc.
Beams are the horizontal load-bearing elements of the frame. Columns are the vertical elements of the frame and act as the building’s primary load-bearing element. They transmit the beam loads down to the foundations.
A shear wall resists loads parallel to the plane of the wall. Collectors, also known as drag members, transfer the diaphragm shear to shear walls and other vertical elements in the seismic force resisting system. Shear walls are typically light-framed or braced wooden walls with shear panels, reinforced concrete walls, reinforced masonry walls or steel plates.
State of Conservation
The Dominican convent of La Tourette, near Lyon, is Le Corbusier’s last great work in France. As is traditional in the convent typology, it is organized around a central open space. Unlike traditional cloisters, however, it incorporates the uneven topography of the terrain, which is taken up in the complex volumes of the whole: raised atop pilings supported by the slope of the hillside, the building generates an imposing perspective from afar and a controlled human scale toward the interior. Inside the cloister, the green roofs on top of the common rooms and circulation areas – which occupy the lower levels of the courtyard – serve as the convent garden.
Concrete is clearly the dominant material. In multiple forms, textures and finishes, it has an undeniable expressive purpose: with its material qualities, the béton brut evokes a strict, ancestral religiousness, stripped of all luxury, harnessed to express the values of monastic life.
The upper floors house the individual cells. The long access corridors look out onto the interior courtyard through the characteristic fenêtres en longueur, whereas the cells themselves open onto the outside landscape. The cross section of both the cells and the hallways is determined by a strict system of measurements based on the Modulor.
The common rooms, on the lower floors, connect with the interior courtyard through access ramps and entrance volumes, characterized by large windows and concrete lattices that frame the views over the valley. The church, a robust rectangular concrete volume, stands out against the rest of the program by occupying the entirety of one side of the cloister: from the outside, it can be identified by the expressive shapes of the bell towers and skylights, whereas the interior is characterized by the masterful, dramatic treatment of the light that filters in from overhead, combining primary colors that infuse the light in sections.
La Tourette flawlessly demonstrates the multiple formal and expressive possibilities of exposed reinforced concrete and remains one of Le Corbusier’s greatest works.
Route de la Tourette
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Région), Rhône (Département) 69210 Éveux-sur-Arbresle
Fundación DOCOMOMO Ibérico