August 18, 2009

Raised On The Roof: Unite d'Habitation Nursery & Creche


Unite d'Habitation roof, originally uploaded by stewartski.

Unité d'habitation, the massive, postwar housing tower in Marseilles, is one of le Corbusier's inarguable masterpieces. It succeeds in no small part because of the sense of community generated by shared services and amenities, including the rooftop nursery and creche, shown here.


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The Magnum Photo by Rene Burri that was on Slate a few weeks ago shows kids scampering on the concrete furniture to the left of the wading pool. [img via: archpaper]

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This other interior photo, also by Burri [via laa-courneuve.net], looks more like one of the residences to me, but who knows?

We can swoon all we want to over Great Architects' buildings, but face it: if you take away the sepia and the Corbu brand, these spaces don't strike me as all that special.

4 Comments

A playground is a playground to most kids!

What these pictures don't capture is the vista, and when you (or a child) is up on that roof, the vast extents of the mountains and sea really are part of that play space. The imaginary possibilities are far greater than what he contributed as 'purely designed'.

If nothing else, Corb was a master of Branding.

The wife and I were talking about this topic (i.e. the "specialness" of the work of great architects) when we were in France together last year. Now I'm not an unconditional fan of Corbu's work, by any means, but I have to say that there definitely is something different about the places he designed. Intuitively, you can tell when you're in one of his buildings (or the work of any other great architect). Hard to describe, but it does feel different than your standard run of the mill concrete HLM tower or basic residence block you see over there. Maybe it's in the details. Anyway, I've been in these before and they're not someplace I'd want to live, but they are interesting and there's definitely a "specialness" to them when you're there in person.

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