The sculptor Sir Anthony Caro wants to talk about a building he has not yet seen, Le Corbusier's pilgrimage chapel at Ronchamp, completed in the mid 1950s.He says that he likes to keep sculptural treats in his head until he is ready for them. 'Often they turn out to be better than expected.' Greece, when he eventually went there, more than fulfilled expectations; it is hard to believe that Ronchamp will not do so too.
Caro is fascinated by the idea of a sculptural object having an architectural dimension, and for him Le Corbusier's chapel is both architecture and sculpture. He became familiar with it shortly after its completion, in the form of plans, drawings and photographs.
At the time he was teaching sculpture to a group of architectural students, including Richard Rogers, from the Architectural Association. One of the tasks he set them was to make a piece of sculpture, in the form of a hollow skin, an object that they could put their heads into, so that it worked from inside as well as outside, the way Ronchamp works.
Caro says that the power of the plan alone influenced some of his figurative sculpture during the 1950s. Some things lose their fascination with time, but Caro finds this has not happened in the case of Ronchamp. He says, 'It still rocks me to my foundations. Le Corbusier is the connection for us all, architects and sculptors alike.'