Year: 1945 / Place: Marseille, France
The key to modern urbanism: creation of the Unités d’Habitation (Housing Units), construction of the prototype in the city of Marseille
The Context In the Mediterranean area every myth has its history and its raison d’être somewhere between reality and invention. In the Unité d’habitation of Marseille invention becomes reality, or better said, Le Corbusier succeeds in inventing within reality and in turning pure theory into a concrete experience.
The reality is that of a disastrous postwar France, the difficult context of Reconstruction. The theory is the one the architect developed in the course of over twenty years of research and experiments aimed at the definition and execution of a new architectural and urban model.
1945 is the year in which the Minister Raoul Dautry, head of the recently created Ministère de la Reconstruction et de l’Urbanisme, engages Le Corbusier for the construction of this huge complex to house the homeless in Marseille. However, almost as a sort of forewarning of all the trials the project of theUnité would go through before it was completed, the architect, despite his fame or maybe even because of it, has a hard time taking part in the postwar reconstruction program, which for him is a “grandiose opportunity” to create a human and urban ensemble attuned to the manifold requirements of the new machine society.
FLC 26662 Exterior perspective towards three Units d'Habitation in situ with annotations
FLC 26298 View from airplane
FLC 25185 Mosaic of the formwork of the ceiling of the artificial ground
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