Home Tour: E-1027

Inside the French Riviera villa that Eileen Gray built, Le Corbusier “vandalized”—and history almost forgot.

“The name E-1027 reflects Gray’s desire to unite an unfathomable number of considerations in her work, none too small or precious.”

A house, the Irish architect Eileen Gray once said, should be a kind of living creature. Above “formulas,” above “beautiful ensembles of lines,” above anything else, a house should be centered on “life,” she said. “The poverty of modern architecture stems from the atrophy of sensuality.”

Perhaps no house has ever lived up to these dictates quite like Gray’s own E-1027, a relatively modest 1,400-square-foot villa near Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the South of France. Gray began working on E-1027 in 1926, completing its designs three years later, in 1929, when she was 51. Although its genius perhaps should have seemed readily apparent, it took decades until she received the critical acclaim for it that her male peers—Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius among them—received in...

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