Photo courtesy of swiss-image.ch/Christof Schuerpf
A Modern White House
Charles-Edouard Jenneret, better known as Le Corbusier, was born at La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887. In 1912, at age 25, the architect built La Maison Blanche for his parents who lived there until 1919. The building was restored in the early 2000s and opened as a museum in 2005. The building's asymmetrical design and construction materials (like fiber-cement shingles instead of tilework) show it is as a significant turning point away from the then-prevalent Jugenstil or Art Nouveau style toward clean lines and a new way of looking at architecture. You can visit the house on weekends and by appointment during the week. A walk around its graceful exterior and its simple interiors punctuated by a few pieces of period-correct furniture show how the architect's severity of style did not prevent him from making his parents feel at home. A small but nicely stocked gift shop even sells a replica of the graceful serpentine "Lizard" that served as the maison's front door pull.