In 1924 Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici began work on their vacation house, E-1027 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Alpes-Maritimes, in southern France (near Monaco). L-shaped and flat-roofed with floor-to-ceiling windows and a spiral stairway to the guest room, E-1027 was both open and compact. This is considered to be Gray's first major work, making indistinct the border between architecture and decoration, and highly personalized to be in accord with the lifestyle of its intended occupants. The name of the house, E-1027, is a code of Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, 'E' standing for Eileen, '10' Jean, '2' Badovici, '7' Gray. The encoded name was Eileen Gray's way of showing their relationship as lovers at the time when built.

E-1027 and Le Corbusier
A friend of Badovici's, Le Corbusier visited E-1027 on numerous occasions and admired it very much, so much so that he was moved to add his own touch to the clean white villa, painting a series of murals on its walls between 1937-39. This intrusion onto her design infuriated Gray, who considered the murals outright vandalism. Whether he painted these murals out of admiration for her work or jealousy of her accomplishment, Le Corbusier became intricately tied with the future of the house. Failing to purchase it himself, he eventually bought a piece of property just east of E.1027, where he built a small, rustic cabin, "Le Cabanon." Here he would go for work and quiet contemplation, taking daily swims on the beach outside the house. After he died in those very waters, the whole area was declared a "Site Moderne," or "Modern Site," and deemed an area of cultural and historical importance and international interest. Today E-1027 is recognized as the founding element of this site.

E-1027 Today
E-1027 stands today in poor condition, original furniture having been removed. Plans for its renovation are being prepared by the French government, who have designated it as a French National Cultural Monument. As a result the state of France and the city of Roquebrune Cap Martin - through the national agency " Conservatoire du littoral" - bought the villa in 1999 and made it secure provisionally. Visiting E.1027 in the early months of 2008 it seems the devastated condition will be history in the near future. The building is surrounded by a scaffold, the property is gated with a fence recently installed and building workers are busy in- and outside the building. A signboard informs that E.1027 will be restored: the restoration is an initiative of the state of France, the department "Alpes Maritimes" and the city of Roquebrune (expenses to be borne 50% / 10% / 40% respectively).

Building Activity

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