Unite d’habitation

Unite d’habitation, Marseille: Case Study


General outline

Unite d’habitation built in 1952.
This project represents 20 years of research carried out by Le Corbusier into the design of dwellings. The Marseille Unite is an 18 storey block with 337 apartments of 23 different types. Its ingenious access system utilises corridors on levels 2, 5, 7, 8, 10, 13 and 16 only. The work has been compared to that of Moisei Ginzburg in terms of reducing dwelling sizes in order to provide communal areas. However the Unite provides a high level of facilities and communal spaces to support and strengthen the idea of the family unit.

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The Standard apartment, interlocked in pairs around a central access corridor, is designed for families with two children. The bedroom sizes are kept to a minimum in order to maximise the space available for communal areas such as the kitchen, living and dining spaces. The areas seen as key of the servantless post-war family life. Although the apartments are only 98sqm they extend through the full depth of the building and have balconies to both elevations, and the provision of central heating, partial air conditioning, refuse chutes and ice boxes in every kitchen raised the standard of services. Variations of unit type includes the addition of side units for the provision of extra sleeping accommodation for larger families; single aspect 2 person apartments; and studios.



Communal facilities include laundries with electric washing machines, a crèche, a kindergarten, a restaurant and even a 18 room hotel instead of the provision of guest rooms. The roof garden/terrace provided a paddling pool for children, a running track and an open air gym. There were also shops, dispensary and a bar within the block. Other attempts to replicate the Unite have been much less successful partially due to budgetary constraints and less provisions in many cases.


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