From the Frugès Modern Districts to the cités radieuses, Le Corbusier has long worked on the theme of collective housing. By applying his research on the Modulor to his concept of housing units, freeing up many common spaces and seeking new constructive solutions, the architect wanted to strengthen the links between the inhabitants and create the conditions for a harmonious life.
At the price of a global intellectual synthesis that he pursued for three decades, Le Corbusier endeavoured to think about the world born of the massacres of the First World War, the Russian Revolution of October 1917, the coming of technical innovations, the awareness of an irreversible demographic expansion and urban growth. The latter would condemn cities of medieval structure, which had become insalubrious, to expand to the point of disarray to accommodate families trying to survive. Urban renewal through Haussmann-style breakthroughs, the beautification of public space, the construction of collective networks seem too slow and garden cities too sparse to halt the deterioration of living conditions and resolve the question raised by Le Corbusier as early as 1920: how can the contemporary city be organized so that man can regain his dignity and establish the indispensable social and cultural cohesion that will prevent the return of conflict?
Facilitating the dissemination of new social relationships
Imbued with the socialist ideas of the October Revolution, urban planners and architects in northern Europe are developing urban organizations and buildings that will facilitate the spread of the new social relationships they want to see. In France, Le Corbusier responded by combining humanism, hygiene, technical progress and an awareness of the impact of speed on the contemporary city. He complemented this new world view by seeking constructive ways of rapidly building such cities and studying the space favourable to the development of the lives of working class families. For thirty-five years, from 1922, when he exhibited in Paris the project for a contemporary city of three million inhabitants, to 1955, when the Maison Radieuse de Rezé-lès-Nantes was inaugurated, he focused all his attention on this issue. He constantly strives to resolve these issues, to have his proposals recognized by disseminating them through speech and writing, by alternating provocations and demonstrations, by trying to mobilize political leaders in many countries while fighting his countless and ferocious detractors. It seeks to redefine in a harmonious and coherent way the living space of mankind.
For more information: https://www.connaissancedesarts.com/monuments-patrimoine/la-ville-moderne-selon-le-corbusier-une-architecture-a-taille-humaine-11146380/
Photo credit: ©Pxhere/Vincent Desjardins