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Pavillon Suisse, Cité Universitaire

Paris, France, 1930-1933

Commission

The Swiss Pavilion was a response to a commission from a ‘Curatorium’ (federation) of Swiss Universities and the University of Paris.

The programme of the pavilion had to meet the expectations and objectives of the Cité Universitaire, which later became the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris (CIUP).

The Cité Universitaire was founded in the early 20th century to provide hygienic and economical lodgings for the rapidly increasing student population. With the support of  the President of the Curatorium, Rudolph Fueter, Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret won the commission without having to enter a competition.

Pavillon Suisse © FLC / ADAGP / Manuel Bougot
Pavillon Suisse © FLC / ADAGP / Manuel Bougot

Project

During 1930, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret were directly entrusted with a programme for forty-two student rooms, a director’s apartment, a lodging for the concierge, seven additional rooms reserved for French students, an entrance hall and a communal breakfast room. Le Corbusier submitted four projects to Professor Fueter and a building expert, M. Jungo. On 3rd November 1931 the official contract was drawn up and work began. It was completed in 1933.

Opened in July 1933, the Swiss Pavilion was Le Corbusier’s proposal for a model of student accommodation seeking to combine private and community life. At that time, the architecture of university housing was still imbued with monastic notions, with a desire to provide students with spaces for solitude and reflection, but also spaces allowing them to share communal relationships.

The Swiss Pavilion is designed in two parts, a four-storey main pavilion and a one-storey secondary building, set directly on the natural terrain of a quarry. For the main building, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret achieved a tour de force by anchoring it on six massive reinforced concrete pilotis fixed nineteen metres down at the bottom of the quarry.

The “five points of modern architecture” are developed through the choice of a metal frame building. In addition to the pilotis and the free plan, differing treatment of the facades made it possible to express a free facade. The initially planned roof terrace became a hidden inhabited roof terrace on the fourth and last floor of the main pavilion.

In the final project, the main pavilion has four floors with, on the ground floor, a lodging for the concierge with two bedrooms and a bathroom, a telephone booth and an entrance hall. From the first to the third floor, each floor has fifteen bedrooms with individual showers and storage space to the west. Finally, on the fourth floor there are five rooms reserved for French students, three servants’ rooms with shared showers and an apartment with two bedrooms and a bathroom for the director. On this floor there are also three terraces. The secondary pavilion houses part of the entrance hall and the communal breakfast room.

Pavillon Suisse © FLC / ADAGP / Manuel Bougot

Subsequent History

The Swiss Pavilion has been restored several times, notably by Le Corbusier himself on three occasions. In 1948, a new mural was painted on the living room wall to replace a “photographic mural” lost during the war. In 1953, the windows of the south-facing rooms were changed. And finally, in 1957, he added a series of benches with enamel decoration and produced new polychromy for the bedrooms. In 1965, the Swiss Pavilion was included in the additional inventory of historical monuments and then, in 1986, listed as a historical monument.

Since then, other repairs and restorations of the building have taken place. The latest was carried out in 2018, to expand the collective kitchens and install new fittings in the private bathrooms.

  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP
  • Pavillon Suisse, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris
    Photo : Olivier Martin-Gambier 2005
    © FLC/ADAGP