Notre-Dame du Haut is a chapel located in Ronchamp, near Belfort in France created by the architect Le Corbusier according to the canons of brutalist architecture. It is considered one of the most famous examples of modern religious architecture.
Designed starting in 1950, the first stone was laid on 4 April 1954 and the church was completed on 20 June 1955, blessed on 25 June 1955, and consecrated on 11 September 2005.
The building, located on the top of a mountain, is made of reinforced concrete. It consists of a single nave of irregular shape. On the sides of the nave there are three small independent chapels that end in three semi-cylindrical bell towers. The roof of the church is made with a cast of concrete modeled as if it were a large upturned sail.
To increase the sense of lightness of the whole the roof does not rest directly on the walls, but on short pillars drowned in the walls of the same. In this way, observing the ceiling from the inside, one perceives a blade of light that penetrates between the walls and the concrete sail, as if it could almost fly away at any moment.
The light also enters from dozens of openings of the most varied forms. Louvers, windows, glass windows and sunshades that create suggestive lighting effects enhanced by the contrast between the white of the plaster and the dirty gray of the cement. The combination is daring and interesting, proposed by Pierre Guéguen between these loopholes and the cuts that Lucio Fontana began to practice a few years later in his paintings: "Rencontre de luminaristes en des arts differents". The church was conceived to be used also outside, where, under the large roof, there is an altar and a pulpit. The building can accommodate about 200 people.
"I wanted to create a place of silence, of prayer, of peace, of inner joy," said Le Corbusier, on the day of the inauguration.
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