The Villa Savoye in Poissy

At Optima®, we have a deep appreciation for remarkable architectural creations that capture the essence of their time. Today, we voyage to Poissy, France, to explore the famous Villa Savoye – a residence that stands as a symbol of the Modernist movement and a testament to the genius of the Swiss-born architect, Le Corbusier.

Inaugurated in 1931, the Villa Savoye encapsulates Le Corbusier’s vision of what a home should be: a “machine for living,” embodying functionality, form, and harmony with the surrounding environment. Distinctly modern, yet timeless in appeal, Villa Savoye is the quintessential realization of Le Corbusier’s Five Points of Architecture.

The free designing of the ground plan, a central tenet of Le Corbusier’s philosophy, is showcased brilliantly in Villa Savoye. The open layout creates a fluidity of movement within the house, each room transitioning seamlessly into the next. The façade, free from structural constraints, features an elegant composition of horizontal windows, providing abundant natural light and stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

The villa also embodies the principle of free design of the façade, resulting in a strikingly minimalist exterior that foregoes decorative excess in favor of simple geometric forms. The ramp and the roof garden, other key aspects of Le Corbusier’s Five Points, add layers of functionality and aesthetic interest. The ramp provides a gentle, processional path through the villa, while the roof garden reclaims the green space sacrificed by the building’s footprint.

Villa Savoye Interior
Interior of Villa Savoye. Photo: Timothy Brown, Flickr Creative Commons

At the heart of this architectural marvel is Le Corbusier’s concept of architectural promenade – the notion that architecture is best experienced moving through space and time. The journey through Villa Savoye is a continuous narrative, each room a chapter, each view a verse, unfolding the poetry of Le Corbusier’s architectural vision.

We revel in the opportunity to celebrate this modernist gem, designed by a pioneer of the movement, Le Corbusier, as an embodiment of innovation, artistic expression, and the timeless human desire for harmony between our creations and the world they inhabit. Just like Villa Savoye, Optima® is committed to creating spaces that respect and enhance their environment, thus contributing to the enduring legacy of architectural excellence.


A Close Look at the Curtain Wall

As a design-driven real estate development firm, our Modernist roots shine in each one of our projects. A staple of classic Modernist design, we often employ glass curtain walls to create stunningly transparent and sleek exteriors. In respect to the tradition and technique, we’re diving deep into the history of the curtain wall and its impact on our structures today.

The curtain wall at Optima Signature
The curtain wall at Optima Signature

The Curtain Wall Defined

A curtain wall is a nonstructural exterior component of a building, at first serving the mere purpose of keeping weather out and occupants in. Being nonstructural, curtain walls are often made of lightweight materials such as glass, metal panels or thin stone. Glass curtain walls have the added benefit of introducing deeply penetrating natural light into a building, and can offer broad, sweeping views, creating seamless cohesion between the built environment and its natural surroundings. 

Because curtain walls are nonstructural components, load-bearing responsibilities fall on the shoulders of strong metal frames. The invention of the curtain wall was in fact made possible by the growth of the iron and steel industry, when these strong metal materials were made more readily available and affordable to the mass market in the late 18th century. 

The first Modernist building, The Crystal Palace, was built during this time. Shortly after The Crystal Palace, Modernist master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe pioneered the contemporary steel-and-glass aesthetic that defined an era and way of designing, coining the name for the style: “skin-and-bones architecture.” Today, designing minimalistic, functional building frames in steel and glass, and employing curtain walls to do so, continues to be a signature mark of Modernist structures.

The curtain wall at Optima Old Orchard Woods
The curtain wall at Optima Old Orchard Woods

Adding Beauty and Sustainability

As a building material, glass has evolved considerably over the years. Our capability to utilize glass in curtain wall systems connects indoors and outdoors, and promises a beautiful environment, with an abundance of natural sunlight and impressive views. Outside of aesthetic, glass curtain walls also serve the functionality of increased performance in temperature moderation, moisture protection and improved acoustics. 

In our own projects, we utilize Low-E UV protected laminated glass with a heat reflective coating, which contributes to a regulated indoor environment, particularly in the harsh Arizona climate, and provides added sustainability, decreasing energy need for additional heating and cooling control.

As we continue to explore the integration of the built and the natural environment, we appreciate the curtain wall for its transparency and sustainability, and the wonder that it adds to exceptional Modernist design.


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