A 1920s “Zigzag” House by Le Corbusier Seeks €472k in France’s Wine Country

The recently renovated residence is located in a modernist housing development in Pessac, a suburb of Bordeaux.

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Among Le Corbusier’s notable contributions to 20th-century architecture were his ideas for low-cost social housing, which he famously advanced in the 1923 manifesto Vers une Architecture (Toward an Architecture). Around this same time, the visionary architect began working on the Quartiers Modernes Frugès, a master-planned community of several dozen homes in Pessac, France. Nearly a century later, the development is still buzzing with residents—one of whom recently listed a choice corner unit for sale.

This two-story corner residence is one of approximately fifty units that Le Corbusier designed for Quartiers Modernes Frugès in Pessac, France.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Recent renovations retained most of the home’s original floor plan while adding new features such as rotating glass doors that open to the front and side gardens. 

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

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The development was one of two that Le Corbusier planned and built for sugar industrialist Henri Frugès, and it served as a neighborhood for his employees. Each residence offered first-class amenities for the time period, including private rooftop terraces, car parking areas, bathrooms with showers, and boilers to supply hot water. Yet the design was not without controversy, and its vibrantly colored concrete facades were a stark departure from the traditional architecture of the surrounding area.

Le Corbusier, along with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, created six typologies for the residences, including the triplex "zigzag" design of the recently listed unit. Two of the zigzag structures were built—shown here in the lower-left corner of this schematic.

Courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Many of the units have been altered since the development’s completion, and some were destroyed during World War II, although recent efforts have focused on protecting and revitalizing the community. The site was declared a local historical monument in the 1980s and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.

The unit up for sale is located in one of two "zigzag" buildings, so named for their Z-shaped plan that perpendicularly connects three residences. All of the units’ layouts were designed to Le Corbusier’s standardized grid of five meters by five meters.

Another view of the breakfast area shows the skylight above.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Located in a rounded alcove, the compact kitchen features wraparound shelving and countertops.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Offering two bedrooms and one bathroom, the 915-square-foot residence occupies two levels. Downstairs, the original open-concept living and dining area is divided by a central staircase and features windows along nearly the full width of one side. Upstairs, one of the bedrooms offers direct access to a rooftop terrace, which is topped by the building’s characteristic pergola and overlooks the private garden. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for €472,000 (~$564,677).

The open-concept living/dining area is located next to the kitchen. An original central staircase leads up to the bedrooms.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

The sunlit living room benefits from an expansive row of windows along one wall.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Upstairs, each of the two bedrooms offers ample natural light.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

The renovated bathroom is shared between the bedrooms.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

The principal bedroom offers direct access to the rooftop terrace.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

The pergola-topped terrace overlooks the garden on two sides and offers a privacy wall along the other. The kitchen skylight is located in the corner.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Accessible from the kitchen, a lower-level patio is bordered by the lush garden.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Another view of the structure shows the attached garage at the end.

Photo courtesy of Architecture de Collection

Located in Pessac, France, the home is currently listed for €472,000 (approximately $564,677) by Architecture de Collection.

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