This villa was built as a large family residence for the wealthy industrialist and founder of the local Zenith factory, Georges Favre-Jacot and was designed by swiss born French architect Le Corbusier. The site consists of a long, narrow piece of land on the side of a hill overlooking Le Locle, the next town along the valley from La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The Villa was designed in the same year as Villa Jeanneret-Perret by Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in 1912. He also made Villa Stotzer, Villa Fallet, and Villa Jaquemet in La Chaux-de-Fonds before adopting the pseudonym Le Corbusier in 1920.
The approach is from the south-east and the rectilinear block comprising the main rooms responds to the linearity of the site by its organisation along the main east-west axis. This becomes the axis of circulation with additions to the main block responding to the entry and to the organisation of terraces and gardens.
The movement progression towards the house is carefully controlled, with an entry zone contained by curved walls which extend forward beyond the main block. A cylindrical vestibule leads to a large central hall which gives access to the salon. The hall and salon each look on to terraces, with the dining area projecting forwards to form a portico with the balcony above.
The pediment which surmounts this projection forms part of a series of classical references in which the columns are modified by capitals inspired by nature. The site is laid out with formal gardens, a pergola and a pool, and it was intended that a gazebo should span the road running along the hill immediately below the site.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the design is the way the circle in front of the house is related to the movement progression. The curved side walls which enclose the space ’embrace’ the visitor as they do in a more sophisticated fashion forty years later in the chapel at Ronchamp (or Notre Dame du Haut), and the turning circle involves the motor car in the architecture in a manner which predicts a similar involvement in the Villa Savoye.
The ‘spokes’ of the turning circle help to relate the house to the space in front of it the radial form fulfilling a similar role to the star-like pattern of the paving in the piazza which links the three buildings of Michelangelo’s Campidoglio in Rome.