Palais de la Société des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 1927
The international panel of architects that assessed the competition held in 1927 for the Palace of the League of Nations - for which 377 different sets of plans, that would have covered a distance of some eight miles if placed on end, were received from every corner of the earth - awarded the design illustrated on these pages the first prize, and also recommended its definite adoption.

Intrigues, of which the least that can be said is that they were devoid of any scruples, deprived its authors of the fruit of their labours ; with the result that the actual commission for carrying out the building was later awarded to four academic architects. Public opinion was outraged by this flagrant act of injustice ; and the daily press, the technical and architectural periodicals, as also the leading intellectual organs and art reviews, proceeded to debate the question at length in almost every country. Two years elapsed before the four architects jointly nominated were able to agree on a design among themselves and get it accepted by the League. In point of fact it was not till the meeting this body held in Madrid in 1929 that their composite design was formally ratified and adopted. Let it be said at once that in none of its essentials had the design which was the outcome of their collaboration anything in common with any of the four designs originally submitted by the four architects concerned. It is incontestible that this joint design was directly inspired by the design of MM. Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret which the assessors had premiated in 1927, and still more obviously by a second design the same architects submitted to them in April,1929.

MM. Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret thereupon proceeded to take legal steps against the League of Nations to vindicate their rights. Their plea - which was in the form of a printed document of 36 pages drawn up on the advice of Maître Prudhomme, Professor of the Faculty of Law at the Sorbonne, and a well-known Paris barrister - was however, "not received" - the only acknowledgment the Lea­gue of Nations deigned to make being a five-line communication to the effect that the League could take no cognisance of complaints emanating from private individuals !!!

The reason why MM. Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret's design aroused public opinion to the extent it did was because it embodied the spirit of our own age instead of the outworn routine methods of traditional architects of the academic school. The design they had submitted -,vas essentially one for a place to work in, corresponding to contemporary requirements. It incorporated entirely new technical solutions in the Office Wing, an acoustically perfect Assembly Hall, both horizontal and vertical means of communication within the building, modern systems of heating and ventilation, rational access for motor cars and adequate provision for parking them. The idea of a palace constructed of reinforced concrete was, moreover, entirely unprecedented. Finally, the cost of MM. Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret's design was scrupulously in conformity with the explicit provisions of the published programme, which laid it down that any design envisaging an expenditure exceeding 13 million gold francs would be automatically eliminated on that score. The estimate for this project of theirs was precisely 12,500,000 francs. The authors of the four academic projects which the League of Nations had jointly premiated on second thoughts falsely declared that their several schemes would not cost more than 13,000,000 francs to build. It was, however, subsequently established by the experts who investigated them that the real cost would have been 50, 40, 35 and 27 millions respectively. Thus the League of Nations embarked on the problem of building a home for itself by a deliberately premeditated act of injustice, which called forth a storm of protest from public opinion throughout Europe.

Extract from Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Oeuvre complète, volume1, 1910-1929
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Palais de la Société des Nations, Geneva
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