The Cité Radieuse by Le Corbusier opened in 1952 in Marseille and is as current as ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of World War II, due to the lack of housing, the Minister of Reconstruction ordered a housing unit in Marseille. Le Corbusier proposed an experimental and innovative project. It aimed to radically renew traditional lifestyles, in particular by increasing the volume of buildings.
Le Corbusier received free rein to design this project, and as such, a new way of living emerged in France. He conceived the building as a vertical city in which literally every possible service was present. How wonderful would that be now? You can remain in lockdown yet have no reduction in comfort level.
In line with the vertical city concept, there are no hallways, only “streets.” Including street lanterns. Additionally, he drastically reduced the number of corridors, with each “street” providing access to three-floor levels. (each apartment is a duplex with an internal staircase). A whole series of stores were present, as well as on the rooftop, an open-air theater, a kindergarten / elementary school, a gymnasium, and a pool.
Like the four other housing units designed by Le Corbusier, he based the Cité Radieuse on the Modulor model, an architectural concept he invented. According to its objectives, it should provide maximum comfort in the relationship between man and his living space. It is a system he considers more suitable than the metric system because it is directly in line with human morphology. The first inhabitants of the Cité Radieuse were modest and middle-class families. Today, given the success of the residency, it is the senior executives and intellectual professions who are interested in living there.