Le Corbusier‘s Radiant City

Built between 1947 and 1952 this apartment block in Marseille incorporates all the theories of what was called The Radiant City formulated by Le Corbusier in 1935.

Le Corbusier was a pioneer of the Modernist Movement in architecture. Throughout his career, he undertook an array of projects around the world. Seventeen of his works thave been named World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Le Corbusier developed a series of architectural principles, which he used as the basis of his designs. This followed five design points : pillars ,roof gardens, open floor plans , long windows and open facades.

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier said : “ Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.’

In 1918, Le Corbusier met the Cubist painter Amédée Ozenfant, in whom he recognised a kindred spirit. Ozenfant encouraged him to paint, and the two began a period of collaboration. Rejecting Cubism as irrational and “romantic”, the pair jointly published their manifesto, Après le cubisme and established a new artistic movement, Purism. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier began writing for a new journal, L’Esprit Nouveau, and promoted with energy and imagination his ideas of architecture.

His real name was Charles-Edouard Jeanneret and he adopted Le Corbusier (an altered form of his maternal grandfather’s name, Lecorbésier) as a pseudonym, reflecting his belief that anyone could reinvent themselves.[“ Adopting a single name to identify oneself was in vogue by artists in many fields during that era, especially in Paris.

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier’s Marseille housing project involves a 337 apartment high rise tower block. The purpose was to increase residential density and to allow for more green space

The ‘Cité Radieuse’ was a architectural concept playing with lights, perspectives, and colours. More than an apartment complex, it is a creative and avant-garde architectural work in its own right. Le Corbusier’s legacy is one of innovation, artistry, and a relentless pursuit of creating spaces that elevate the human spirit.

This vertical garden city is a set of individual apartments mounted on stilts and built as a collective structure. Of the 337 apartments there are 23 different types, all of which provided comfortable and modern accommodation for the time.

These individual spaces benefit from ‘housing extensions’ found inside the ‘cité radieuse’, designed to stimulate a new experience of collective housing.

Le Corbusier

Two inner shopping streets feature a bookshop,, a bar-restaurant , a hotel:, a Design Concept Store:, a gallery of contemporary art, and a teahouse

Le Corbusier

But residents also have at their disposal on the rooftop terrace: a nursery school and a gymnasium .And there is also a 2.8-hectare park around the housing unit that is open all year round.

Dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities, Le Corbusier was influential in urban planning.

Le Corbusier remains a controversial figure. Some of his urban planning ideas have been criticised for their indifference to pre-existing cultural sites, societal expression and equality, and his alleged ties with fascism, antisemitism, eugenics, and the dictator Benito Mussolini have resulted in some continuing contention.


Destination – France / Switzerland