November 03, 2008

Cloning Buildings.

It seems that ambitious architects hardly do the same thing twice. Corbusier tried it and designed the Unité d'Habitation as a multiple adaptive building type.

Unité d'Habitation Marseilles

Unité d'Habitation Marseilles, image by fondation le corbusier

The building is the prototype for Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse. “Le Corbusier was given complete freedom of expression to try out his idea on modern middle-income housing [..]. After twenty years of untiring preparation, the occasion arrived to put in practice what has been resolved theoretically.” (source: Le Corbusier 1910 – 65, Birkhäuser, p. 138)

Unité d'Habitation Nantes-Rezé

Unité d'Habitation Nantes-Rezé, image by wulfmaschine

Built by a private client (residential building cooperative), accordingly, communal services have not been built because of economic reason. Usage of different construction systems (e.g. each apartment is an independent concrete box, improved glass screens)

Unité d'Habitation Berlin

Unité d'
Habitation Berlin, image by Ilpo Sojourn

Le Corbusier’s working plans for the Unité in Berlin were not respected, the manner of execution and the aesthetical interpretation are quite incompatible with Le Corbusier’s desire (no “Modulor” measurements, no communal services, no roof terrace, no “double-height” spaces in apartments)

Unité d'Habitation Briey-en-Forêt

Unité d'Habitation Briey-en-Forêt, image by fondation le corbusier

Abandoned since the decline of the coal industry, closed 1983. Now, maintained by the association La Première Rue (The association was born in 1989 out of the international patronage of about thirty architects and artists who wanted to help protect and valorise this major work of the modern architecture heritage)

Unité d'Habitation Firminy

Unité d'Habitation Firminy, image by Funkstrum

“Corbusier” city, which includes the newly erected church, Saint-Pierre, Firminy, a cultural center, and a d'Unité Habitation.