Let's learn more about the incredible history of Church at firming, France

Oct 16, 2019

Let's learn more about the incredible history of Church at firming, France

This church also carries special significance, as it was the last major work of Le Corbusier and was left unfinished upon his death in 1965. It was finished forty-one years after his death in 2006, keeping his essence alive. The industrial city of Firminy the Church of Firminy was one of a set of community buildings designed by Le Corbusier, among these are an Olympic stadium, youth club and cultural center, standard housing complex, and finally Unite-d'Habitation.

The first stone was laid in 1970, but the construction work did not actually get underway until 1973, before being completely abandoned in 1978. The completed areas (the current Interpretation Centre) were listed as historical monuments in 1996. It was only from the year 2000 onwards that the decision was taken to complete the church. Most of the financing was provided by the local urban community (Saint-Étienne Métropole), which in 2002 declared the completion of this monument to be in the general interest of the community.

Keeping in mind the small crowd of the city, the architect wanted to grasp and celebrate the miners and steelworkers that produced most of the goods of the area, which explains his use of concrete. He hoped that this material would also give him control over the volume and spaces in his overall goal of giving the light a true meaning. The construction work, which was completed in November 2006, was managed by José Oubrerie keeping scrupulously to the original project. He was supported by Aline Duverger, Yves Perret, Romain Chazalon and by Jean-François Grange-Chavanis, the chief architect of historical monuments. The work was completed using modern techniques and materials.

The Church takes the form of a basic square building measuring 25.50 meters along each side, topped with a truncated 33-meter high cone.

As can be expected by the architect, he fused many of his core architectural ideas from previous projects into his newer design, while also leaving room to be inspired by religion.

He wanted to create a setting that established a place for spiritual enrichment on a modest scale. About this, Le Corbusier stated that space must be "vast so that the heart may feel at ease, and high so that prayers may breathe in it."

Natural light floods in through light boxes and through a series of organized openings that are a direct reference to the constellation Orion. The light boxes are designed in a way that will bring light to the altar on specific religious holidays, like Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Corbusier uses the spirituality of geometry to create the overall form; a square base that projects upwards to a circle depicts the metamorphosis and transition from earthly to the spiritual realm, and the cosmological basis is revealed in the constellation windows and angle of the roof towards the sun.

The building was completed in 2006 by French architect Jose Oubrerie, who studied under Corbusier for many years.