Edition Axel Menges
LE CORBUSIER. Unité d'Habitation, Marseille
If there is one building by Le Corbusier that represents a synthesis of his basic concepts it is certainly the Unité d’habitation built in Marseille in 1946–52. This built manifesto does not simply put forward a social model as a utopia, but also the unity of architecture and town planning. It is one of the most significant buildings there has even been, but it also triggered a great deal of controversy. The story of the response to it has been recorded in order to investigate why this extremely ambitious project in particular should have caused such a conflict between intention and effect.
The Unité d’habitation in Marseille is now very popular with the people who live in it as a building. Despite all the criticism, it obvi- ously still offers functional advantages that make it easier for individuals and the community to live together. The enormous sculptural force and the characteristic interplay of light and colour shown in the photographs make the building into a »personality« that can be identified with.
As well as this, the building also offers something special in terms of concrete spatial experience. In the age of a superficial »adventure society« it claims the intensity of an everyday experience that is both casual and at the same time complex, embracing all the senses. This extends from the reception in the imposing foyer to the »theatre« of figures on the roof terrace in the light of the landscape, from the inverted urban scenery of the promenade publique to twilight seclusion in the silent residential streets. And it includes the flats themselves, which open up expansively to draw in the sea and mountain mood. Le Corbusier used his architectural resources atmospherically and scenically to give the Unité d’habi- tation a succinct coherence that also forms the basis for individ- ual lives within its rooms and spaces. Precise observation and de- scription reveal the mechanisms of these effects.
> All three authors are qualified architects. Alban Janson is professor of the fundamentals of architecture at Karlsruhe University, Carsten Krohn lives and works as an author in Berlin, and Anja Grunwald teaches architectural photography at Karlsruhe University.
Veste editoriale: Cartonato
Immagini a colori: 50
Immagini b/n: 33