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Ronchamp, 1988

ronchamp03.jpg Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp, Le Corbusier, 1950.

On a very cold and foggy morning, I made my trek, like countless architecture students before me, up the hill to Ronchamp. Instead of anticipating this audience with the great work by seeing the church from the valley, the fog and damp completely obscured the view.

Unlike the various descriptions of this building, my experience was not of a beautiful, plastic sculptural form, disposed in sunlight, on the green hilltop. With visibility down to about 30 feet, a walk around the building was odd and mysterious, with forms suddenly materializing into view, but without the context of the whole.

The interior was so quite and so still as just myself and my friend Tim were the only people there. It was stunningly cold, so the superintendent just left us on our own. So of course, contrary to the posted signs, we started taking photos, albeit a bit dark and shaky.

This is a photo of the south wall. The usually diffuse light was so dim, that only a silhoutte of light and dark was exposed.

Photo by Mark Gerwing, 1988.