The first complete building designed by the influential Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, has been purchased by a local heritage group in his home town. It will be dedicated to his work as an architect, urban planner and artist when it opens to the public.
A key figure in the development of modern architecture, Le Corbusier was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887 and had the villa built there as a home for his parents in 1912. It has been empty for several years and is now in need of extensive renovation.
Speaking on behalf of its purchasers, the Maison Blanche Association, Janine Perret Sgualdo said: "Our first objective is to prevent the villa falling into private ownership and being closed to the public. The renovation will respect its architect's philosophy."
The association, which has nearly 200 members, is buying the villa for SFr650,000 with financial support from the Loterie Romande (Swiss-French lottery), the Swiss Confederation, canton Neuchatel and the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Known as the Villa Jeanneret-Perret, the building was influenced by Le Corbusier's travels in the Orient and Germany and is said to mark a turning point in his artistic development.
The architect - whose real name was Charles-Edouard Jeanneret - lived there with his parents until 1917, when he settled in Paris. He died in France in 1965.
swissinfo and agencies