Corbu in Nantes

Completed in 1955 by the Swiss master in the Rezé suburb, the Unité d'abitation in Nantes perfected the first experience in Marseille.

Originally published in Domus 312/November 1955

La nuova Unité d'habitation di Le Corbusier a Nantes
A new Unité d'habitation by Le Corbusier was recently completed in Nantes. The new building is about the same size as that of Marseille (300 rooms instead of 330) but its construction cost one quarter that of the Marseille Unité. To respect the budget set by HLM [habitations à loyers modérés ]), Le Corbusier had to sacrifice a series of special details adopted in Marseille: piping incorporated within the structural columns, air-conditioning, a gallery of shops, roof solarium and gym, double height (4.52 m) for the living rooms of the duplex apartments.

This modified the exterior and interior of the building with respect to Marseille but did not diminish its aesthetic and practical value, and indeed Nantes can be considered a refinement of the first experience in Marseille.
The exterior stair to the first floor on the west side.
The exterior stair to the first floor on the west side.
The building stands isolated outside Nantes in the countryside in a park crossed by a pond; in fact, the columns on the north side rise directly from the water on plinths surrounded by concrete.
The twelve hundred inhabitants of the Unité reach it on foot from the east by a narrow concrete walkway that crosses the pond (having a width of only 1.83 m but it did not seem too narrow).
The Unité d'habitation is set in a park crossed by a pond; some of the columns, in fact, rise directly from the water.
The Unité d'habitation is set in a park crossed by a pond; some of the columns, in fact, rise directly from the water.
The eighteen-story building stands on four rows of structural columns which do not contain piping as in the Marseilles Unité. Therefore they are more slender and the space below the building is more luminous. The upper floors are reached from the ground floor by means of three batteries of automatic elevators having a capacity of sixteen people each.
The new building is about the same size as that of Marseille (300 rooms instead of 330) but its construction cost one quarter that of the Marseille Unité.
The west façade of the building.
The west façade of the building.
The building's terminal terrace is different from that of the Marseille Unité but is always conceived of as a fantastic built landscape with streets and buildings; and dedicated to children. It is mostly occupied by the nursery school building surrounded by two streets. A small swimming pool is located at the southern end.
The Unité d'habitation by Le Corbusier in Nantes.
The Unité d'habitation by Le Corbusier in Nantes.
Vertical openings in the black exterior walls of the nursery school with operable wood sash alternating with square openings (Modulor) closed with glass block.
The nursery school.
The nursery school.
The nursery school interiors
The nursery school interiors
The children's room with the sliding partition.
The children's room with the sliding partition.

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