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Unité d'habitation
Flatowallee 16

Le Corbusier 1959

Le Corbusier designed several variations of the unité d’habitation, the most famous of which is in Marseille, France. All were derived from Le Corbusier’s visionary 1922 city plan, known as Ville Contemporaine. The plan envisioned massive residential blocks set in open green areas—towers in parks, bringing light and air to the residents of urban housing. Like most grand modernist visions, the Ville Contemporaine was never built in its entirety. Its influence on subsequent developments in city planning, however, is clear - notably on post-war reconstruction in Europe and public housing in the United States.

The unité type was most notable for its creation of internal streets (essentially elaborate hallways) and accommodation of social and communal functions—kindergartens, medical facilities, recreational spaces—within the housing block. The Berlin unité, built between 1956-1959, lacks most of the amenities (save a shop and a post office on the ground floor), but is considered unique for its more generously sized apartments. It accommodates 530 units on 17 floors. The internal streets here are oppressive, windowless corridors. Still, the building is in quite good condition; its hilltop setting, iconic formal qualities, and polychromatic facades are very striking.

Jay Berman 1999


How to visit

The unité d'habitation is just south of the Olympia Stadion in the Westend section of Berlin.

U-Bahn: Line U2 to Olympiastadion (Ost).

S-Bahn: Lines S75 or S9 to Olympiastadion (closest to the building)

Books and other web sites

Click the book title to view and to order direct from


0486250237_m.gif (4648 bytes) Towards a new architecture
Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier's original architectural 'manifesto', describing what he sought to achieve, as it first appeared in English in 1931. Accessible (if an unconventional style for today) and stimulating.

Le Corbusier: Ideas and forms
William J.R. Curtis

Readable (quite detailed) account of Le Corbusier's work, well illustrated and well structured.

Le Corbusier and the continuing revolution in architecture
Charles Jencks

A hefty but accessible analysis of Le Corbusier's life and work, drawing on his writing and painting as well as building design.



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