Le Corbusier - Unite d'habitation


Last month we had a wonderful weekend away in Marseilles. It is a great city, and undoubtedly for me one of the highlights was Le Corbusier's Unite d'habitation.  

The project was built between 1947 and 1952, and I was really struck by how well it has stood the tests of time and the scrutiny of its ideals - the democracy of design, the honesty of materials and the beauty of functionalism.

I love all the concrete forms, with the original wooden shuttering clearly visible.

But I was also really surprised by all the decorative detail - in the image on the bottom left you can see a pattern of coloured tiles on the roof terrace. 

And the strong, thoughtful use of colour throughout the building works wonderfully against the greys of the concrete.

Maybe this was partly due to the influence of his collaborator the painter-architect Nadir Afonso. But whatever the reason, it works wonderfully to soften the edges of this beautiful brutalist icon.

Eleanor Pritchard