Le ‘Grammar of Ornaments’ by Owen Jones, which

Le Corbusier, having had no extensive education in architecture, learnt a great deal about architecture in sketching buildings and studying books. In ‘Grammar of Ornaments’ by Owen Jones, which he came across under L’Eplattenier’s tutoring, it is said that “the true basis of architectural forms and decorative motifs lay in the transformation of local, natural features.”  This quote is followed by the example of Egyptian columns and their relationship with plants from the Nile valley. Corbusier applies this principle to the Villa Fallet with his various references to nature in his use of materials, decorations and overall form. He experiments in his designs with geometrical forms and patterns simplified from natural forms. As a result, William Curtis argued that “it is tempting to see the Fallet House as a miniature ‘symphonie pastorale'” . It is true that Le Corbusier most likely inherited sensibilities in Arts and Crafts and music from both his parents, likely referred to here. The traditional steep overhanging roof (figure 2) suggests the shedding of rain and snow while mimicking the pine profiles of the surrounding forest of Pouillerel. Other references to conifer trees can be noted within the highly ornamented exterior through decorative motifs on the balustrades, window bars and sculpted plaster finishes, echoing branches, twigs and foliage. Such details are outlined in Edouard’s former watch case designs. The careful use of materials and colours recall geological stratifications, earthy textures and other natural features. Thus, translating the real significance of the house’s overall design and its harmony with the surrounding landscape.                                                                                            The structural system of the Fallet house follows the local construction language of swiss chalets. From the heavy stone base to a system of stone and timber post and beams supports, plastered walls and largely overhanging timber roof, the house suggests a close relationship with its surroundings by its range and nature of building materials. “A robust stone base roots the house to its site” , settled in a south facing slope. To face the summer sun, extending roof eaves have been carefully designed and therefore ornamented by natural forms to suit what appeared to be the philosophy behind the project. In a letter that Le Corbusier wrote to L’Eplattenier after the construction of the house, he writes “‘you have set in motion an art movement in La Chaux de Fonds … essentially based on a nature on the one hand, and on probity in the use of materials on the other. (…) The stone’s appearance being the expression of its actual construction, the wood being an expression of its assemblage, the roofs serving to protect from wind and rain.'”  (figure 3)