Saturday, October 23, 2010

Marseille: The Radiant City, A Madman's Vision?

It's known poetically as the Radiant City, prosaically as the Housing Unit and irreverently by locals as La Maison du Fada (The Madman's House). Whatever you like to call it, Le Corbusier's pioneering, modernist construction is more than just another block of flats. It's a vertical township in its own right.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris was born in Switzerland in 1887, but his heart was, as he says, profoundly Mediterranean (he died at his cabanon, or beach house, on the Côte d'Azur in 1965). He took the pseudonym Le Corbusier - adapted from his grandfather's name, Lecorbésier, and meaning, roughly "the crow-like one" - in 1920 and, over the years, turned his hand to many things: painting, sculpting, furniture designing and, above all, urban planning. Published in 1935, La Cité Radieuse (The Radiant City) articulated his radical ideas on this subject. Click here to read more.

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