Unite d’habitation photographed by Paul Clemence in homage to Le Corbusier

Unite d’habitation photographed by Paul Clemence in homage to Le Corbusier

unite d’habitation through the lens of paul clemence

Photographer clemency pablo Trips to Marseilles to discover le corbusier‘s Unite d’Habitation, one of the most recognizable works of modernism. Following his stay at the Hôtel le Corbusier, which occupies the third floor of the iconic building, the Brooklyn-based photographer offers a fresh look inside the vertical city. The 1952-built project was first erected in response to the baby boom and subsequent post-war housing crisis in France, and takes shape as a monumental seventeen-story block raised on a series of heroic pilotis.

paul clemence le corbusier

images © Pablo Clemencia / ARCHI-PHOTO | @fotobyclemence

discover the concrete city in the sky

Unite d’Habitation exemplifies Le Corbusier’s call for a new modern architecture, brought to life with modernist innovations on a variety of scales. An early example of brise-soleil shows careful, environmentally friendly details, integrating a sun shading system directly into the façade. Meanwhile, a modular logic ensures that each narrow unit spans two levels and receives sunlight and ventilation from either end; this concept of a simple component being added is typical of Le Corbusier’s new school of thought.

In general, the project is designed to function as a city, a ‘living machine’ and integrates all the necessary amenities for its occupants to live. When first conceived, Unite d’Habitation was perfectly equipped with 330 units for 1,600 people, a post office, a two-story shopping center, a library, a restaurant, a hotel for visitors, a clinic and a gymnasium, and a track on the roof. A school was even located on the eleven acre grounds.

paul clemence le corbusier

le corbusier’s mediterranean masterpiece

The design of Le Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation takes vernacular notes from the Mediterranean context: the French architect was heavily influenced by his early travels in Greece and Rome, drawing on his built landscape of ubiquitous white walls and landscaped roofs. More than historical styles, he applied to his work the spatial ideas of the urban framework. Thus, the project harmonizes individual housing with the ‘urban plan’.

paul clemence le corbusier
the monumental block rises seventeen stories, its modular logic expressed throughout its patterned façade

paul clemence le corbusier
the building towers over a series of heroic pilots

paul clemence le corbusierOra Ito’s MAMO (Marseille Modulor) art space occupies the rooftop (see designboom’s coverage here)

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