Jason is excited that our rental car has a manual transmission. He views it as a perk, though it was our only option. We drive down a steep hill that snakes toward the sea, and follow brown signs marked “Le Cabanon.”
We are on a mission to find the one-room cabin designed by the architect Le Corbusier for his wife, Yvonne. The house is on the French Riviera and is known as Le Cabanon. It is 12 feet by 12 feet with no kitchen, and a toilet next to the bed.
Our interest in Le Corbusier (a.k.a. Corbu) started when we read about Yvonne’s vertebra.
She was cremated at her funeral. Corbu rescued the backbone from the ashes and showed it to stunned guests. For the rest of his life he kept the bone in his pants pocket, except when it was placed on his drafting table, so he could look at it as he worked.
We read the vertebra story in “Le Corbusier: A Life,” by Nicholas Fox Weber. The story was sweet and strange. It made us feel attached to Corbu, and in our travels we began to check if any of his buildings were nearby.
Jason and I are not architecture scholars, but we have been to five of Corbu’s buildings. The spaces inspire thoughts on proportions, history and aesthetics, but more than that, they are fun. Like sculptures you can walk through, or adult jungle gyms.