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Le Cabanon

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, 1951

« I have a stately home on the French Riviera, 3.66 m by 3.66 m. It’s for my wife, a prodigality of comfort and kindness ».

Commission

During a stay in villa E1027 designed by Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, a friend of the architect, Le Corbusier met Thomas Rebutato who had just finished building L’Étoile de Mer, a nearby guinguette (little establishment providing food and music).

In 1951, Thomas Rebutato allowed Le Corbusier to build a log cabin abutting this lttle restaurant. The architect entrusted this work to Charles Barberis, a Corsican carpenter who prefabricated the wooden parts in Ajaccio and assembled them on site.

Le Cabanon was the culmination of Le Corbusier’s work on rational and functional living space reduced to a minimum. It was designed on the dimensions of the Modulor.

Le Corbusier, Cabanon © FLC / ADAGP / Manuel Bougot
Le Corbusier, Cabanon © FLC / ADAGP / Manuel Bougot

Project

Designed in the spirit of the traditional log cabin, the Cabanon was made of wood covered with pine bark cladding and a single-pitched Eternit roof. Within a surface of 15 sq m and a height of 2.26 m, Le Corbusier fitted out a rest area, a work area, toilets and a wash-hand basin.

There are two windows, 70 cm square with folding shutters, one of which looks out onto the Mediterranean and the other onto a century-old carob tree. The furniture consists of a wooden bed with a headrest and storage space, a wardrobe, a table provided with storage units, stools and a coat rack.

The red toilet curtain, the yellow parquet, the green, red and white panels of the ceiling and the pegs of the coat rack add touches of colour to the minimalist interior.

On the wall of the entrance corridor is a mural by Le Corbusier entitled Taureaux, while on the inside faces of the two folding shutters are female figures inspired by Yvonne.

A door provides direct access to the guinguette, where the couple took their meals. The amenities are completed by a shower and a concrete table outside the Cabanon.

In an exchange of letters with Charles Barberis, Le Corbusier discussed the possiblity of  mass production of this prototype.

Le Corbusier, Cabanon © FLC / ADAGP / Manuel Bougot
Le Corbusier, Cabanon © FLC / ADAGP / Manuel Bougot

Subsequent History

In 1954, Le Corbusier used the prefabricated elements of a builder’s hut to provide himself with a work space a few yards away from the Cabanon. Le Corbusier’s trusty assistant, Fernand Gardien, was responsible for insulating the walls with fibreglass and lining the interior with plywood.

Le Corbusier stayed there with his wife Yvonne every summer until her death in 1957 and afterwards by himself. In 1965, he died from heart failure while swimming at the foot of the Cabanon.

Recognized today as a manifesto of modern architecture, a replica of the Cabanon was made by Cassina and is regularly presented to the public at exhibitions. In 2016, the site of the Cabanon, the Builder’s Hut, the Camping Units and L’Étoile de Mer were placed on the World Heritage List, together with 16 other works by Le Corbusier.

The site is also part of the Cap Moderne complex, including Villa E1027 and its garden, now managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and open to visitors.

  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2006
    © FLC/ADAGP