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The city of today is a dying thing because its planning is not in the
proportion of geometrical one fourth. The result of a true
geometrical lay-out is repetition, The result of repetition is a
standard. The perfect form.
- Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier was born in 1887
In the Swiss watchmaking town
of La Chaux de Fonds.
Corbusier was at first
ambivalent, preferring a career
as a painter, but later he came
to embrace the architecture
Under Perrets guidance,
Corbusier learned the
aesthetics of functionalism (the
beauty of a carefully calculated
structure sans ornament) and
the positivism of the modern
The Evolution of Urban
HOWARD (1903)
. Howard wanted to design an alternative to the overcrowded and polluted industrial
cities of the turn of the century, and his solution centered on creating smaller
garden cities (with 32,000 people each) in the country .
. Linked by canals and transit and set in a permanent greenbelt. His scheme
included vast open space, with the aim of giving urban slum-dwellers the best of
both city and country living.
. He captioned the design as A Group of smokeless, Slumless Cities. After this, the
concept of radiant city was introduced.


. Le Corbusier was trying to find a fix for the same problems of urban pollution and
overcrowding, but unlike Howard, he envisioned building up, not out.
. His plan, also known as Towers in the Park, proposed exactly that: numerous
high-rise buildings each surrounded by green space. Each building was set on
superblocks, and space was clearly delineated between different uses .
. Le Corbusiers ideas later reappeared in the design of massive public housing
projects in the U.S. in the era of urban renewal.
open and green, cities should be frankly urban, urban
surroundings are to be definitely contrasting with rural surroundings
Densities are in themselves not a problem. Congestion and slum
conditions in the cities are due to excessive coverage, persistence of
old street patterns and unrestricted land speculation
Slums exist because of the failure to provide the proper surrounding
for high density living
He protests against strict functionalism : Human creations that
survive are those which produce emotions, and not those which are
only useful
City for 3 million people was proposed by Le corbusier in 1922,
which was based on four principles :
Decongestion of the centre of the cities
Augmentation of the density
Enlargement of the means of circulation
Increase in the number of parks and open spaces

CENTRAL CITY Rectangle containing

two cross axial highways
At its heart was a six-level transport
interchange centre for motor, rail
lines (underground and main-line
railways) and roof of which is air-
24 cruciform skyscrapers - 60
storeyed office building with density
1200 ppa and covers 5% of the
Surrounding skyscrapers was
apartment district 8 storey
buildings arranged in zigzag rows
with broad openspaces.


La Ville Radieuse(1924) represented anutopian dreamto reunite

man within awell-ordered environment. Unlike the radial design of the
Ville Contemporaine, theVille Radieusewas a linear city based upon the
abstract shape of the human body with head, spine, arms and legs. The
design maintained the idea ofhigh-rise housing blocks, free circulation
and abundantgreen spacesproposed in his earlier work. The blocks of
housing were laid out in long lines stepping in and 0ut. and were raised up
on pilotis. They hadroof terracesand running tracks on their roofs.
Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City) is an unrealized urban masterplan by Le Corbusier,
first presented in 1924 and published in a book of the same name in 1933.

Designed to contain effective means of transportation, as well as an abundance of

green space and sunlight

Le Corbusiers city of the future would not only provide residents with a better
lifestyle, but would contribute to creating a better society.

Though radical, strict in its order, symmetry and standardization, Le Corbusiers

proposed principles had an extensive influence on modern urban planning and led to
the development of new high-density housing typologies.

In accordance with modernist ideals of progress The Radiant City was to emerge
from a tabula rasa: it was to be built on nothing less than the grounds of demolished
vernacular European cities.

The new city would contain prefabricated and identical high-density skyscrapers,
spread across a vast green area and arranged in a Cartesian grid, allowing the city
to function as a living machine.
At the core of Le Corbusiers plan stood
the notion of zoning: a strict division of
the city into segregated commercial,
business, entertainment and residential

The business district was located in the

center, and contained monolithic mega-
skyscrapers, each reaching a height of
200 meters and accommodating five to
eight hundred thousand people.

At the center of the planned city was a

transportation hub which housed depots
for buses and trains as well as highway
intersections and at the top, an airport.

Located in the center of this civic district

was the main transportation deck, from
which a vast underground system of
trains would transport citizens to and
from the surrounding housing districts.
The centerpiece of this plan was a group of sixty-story cruciform skyscrapers built on steel
frames and encased in curtain walls of glass. The skyscrapers housed both offices and the flats
of the most wealthy inhabitants. These skyscrapers were set within large, rectangular park-like
green spaces.

Le Corbusier segregated the pedestrian circulation paths from the roadways, and glorified the
use of the automobile as a means of transportation. As one moved out from the central
skyscrapers, smaller multi-story zigzag blocks set in green space and set far back from the
street housed the proletarian workers.

The housing districts would contain pre-fabricated apartment buildings, known as

Reaching a height of fifty meters, a single Unit could accommodate 2,700
inhabitants and function as a vertical village: catering and laundry facilities
would be on the ground floor, a kindergarden and a pool on the roof.
Parks would exist between the Units, allowing residents with a maximum of
natural daylight, a minimum of noise and recreational facilities at their doorsteps.
Inside Les Unites were the vertical
streets, i.e. the elevators, and the
pedestrian interior streets that connected
one building to another.
Automobile traffic was to circulate on
pilotis supported roadways five meters
above the earth.
Other transportation modes, like subways
and trucks, had their own roadways
separate from automobiles.
Transportation systems were also
formulated to save the individual time.
Corbusier bitterly reproaches advocates
of the horizontal garden city for the time
wasted commuting to the city.
Because of its compact and separated
nature, transportation in the Radiant City
was to move quickly and efficiently.
Corbusier called it the vertical garden

The idea of proposing order through careful planning is as relevant now as when Le
Corbusier first published The Radiant City. Issues of healthy living, traffic, noise,
public space and transportation, which Le Corbusier - unlike any architect before him
- addressed holistically, continue to be a major concern of city planners today.

The sources of inspiration for the designing of the new vertical city by todays
architects and planners is La Ville Radieuse The Radiant City by Le Corbusier.
Between 1931 and 1940 Corbusier undertook a series of town planning proposals for
Algiers which was the administrative capital of French North Africa.

On his 1935 trip to the United States, Corbusier criticised the skyscrapers of
Manhattan for being too small and too close together. He proposed replacing all the
existing buildings with one huge Cartesian Skyscraper equipped with living and working
units. This would have cleared the way for more parkland, thus conforming to the ideals
of the Ville Radieuse.

These radical ideas were further developed by Le Corbusier in his drafts for various
schemes for cities such as Paris, Antwerp, Moscow and Morocco.

Le Corbusiers best opportunity for the realisation of his plans was when he was provided
with a free hand were the designs for Chandigarh, India, which he developed in 1949.

From 1945 to 1952 he undertook the design and construction of the Unit d'Habitation
in Marseilles. The Unit embodied the ideas of the Ville Radieuse that he had
developed in Nemours and Algiers.

When designing the layout for Brasilia, architects Lcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer were
influenced by the plans for the Ville Radieuse.
The plan had to incorporate the existing casbah
whilst allowing for the linear growth of the
increasing population.
The resulting Plan was a variation on the Ville
Radieuse, adapted for a very specific culture and
It comprised four main elements: an
administration area by the water in two slab
blocks, convex and concave apartment blocks for
the middle classes up on the slopes above the
city, an elevated roadway on a north-south axis
above the casbah and a meandering viaduct with
a road on top meandering down the coast.
French architects based their designs for domestic
space on the concept of the traditional house,
itself an interdisciplinary colonial concept
intertwined with the discourse on Algerian
Housing also offered the French colonizers a
powerful presence in a country where periodic
resistance to the occupation eventually
culminated in a seven-year war of liberation and
an end to French rule.
In the 1925 plan voisin de paris finnanced in part by the
voisin motor company. Le Corbusier for the first time applied
certain principles of his contemporary city to an existing
situation : a partial renovation of Paris. The plan was, and still
is, severely criticized
The plan voisin does not claim to offer a detailed solution of
the problems confronting this central district of Paris.
The plan covers an area of about two miles long, of the Rue
de Rivoli and is divided into a business district in the east and
a residential district in the west.

Plan of Paris

Street system
Heavy traffic would proceed at basement level , lighter traffic at ground level , fast traffic
should flow along limited-access arterial roads that supplied rapid and unobstructed cross- city
movement ,pedestrianised streets, wholly separate from vehicular traffic and placed at a
raised level. The number of existing streets would be diminished by two-thirds due to the new
arrangements of housing, leisure facilities and workplaces, with same-level crossing points
eliminated wherever possible.

Critics attacked its focus on the central city, where land values were highest and dislocations
most difficult
the creation of vast empty spaces in place of close-knit streets with their varied civic life
Radiant City, Chandigarh:
The city of Chandigarh is the most puritanical representation of Le Corbusiers ideals as it was designed
and implemented by the master himself.
Chandigarh represents an explosion in urban scale, which has yet to be replicated, a possible sign of its
The city is laid out in a near perfect grid of superblocks, or sectors, as they are known locally.
The majority of the sectors are a 1350 x 850 meter rectangle. Each rectangle is a sanctuary area, and
neighbourhood unit as designed.
The 3 sectors closest to the monumental government buildings are significantly smaller and have the
only segments in the city shorter than 800 meters in length.
Including these altered sectors the average for the detail area (and the city as a whole) is a segment
length of 921 meters.
The city plan was conceived as post war Garden City wherein
vertical and high rise buildings were ruled out, keeping in view the
living habits of the people. Le Corbusier conceived the master plan
of Chandigarh as analogous to human body, with a clearly defined
Head (the Capitol Complex, Sector 1),
Heart (the City Centre Sector-17),
Lungs (the leisure valley, innumerable
open spaces and sector greens),
Intellect (the cultural and educational institutions),

Circulatory system (the network of roads, the 7Vs)

Viscera (the Industrial Area).
Planning Of Chandigarh City
In 1947, Europe was still feeling the effects
of the Second World War, when Le Corbusier
was commissioned to design a multi-family
residential housing project for the people of
Marseille that were dislocated after the
bombings on France.
The Radiant Citys influence was not
exclusive to the world of urban planning.
In 1947, Le Corbusier designed the Unit
d'Habitation in Marseille, which - inspired by
The Radiant Citys Units.
Contained 337 apartments in a single
building, along with public facilities on the
roof and ground floor.
Due to the costs of steel production in the
post-War economy, the Unit d'Habitation
was constructed of exposed concrete and
heralded the arrival of brutalist architecture.
In the years that followed similar buildings
were erected in France and Germany and
around the world in countless housing
This typology, which provided an answer to
the Post-War housing shortage.
Le Corbusiers idea of the vertical garden
city was based on bringing the villa within
a larger volume that allowed for the
inhabitants to have their own private
spaces, but outside of that private sector
they would shop, eat, exercise, and gather
With nearly 1,600 residents divided among
eighteen floors, the design requires an
innovative approach toward spatial
organization to accommodate the living
spaces, as well as the public, communal
Interestingly enough, the majority of the
communal aspects do not occur within the
building; rather they are placed on the roof.
The roof becomes a garden terrace that
has a running track, a club, a kindergarten,
a gym, and a shallow pool.
Beside the roof, there are shops, medical
facilities, and even a small hotel distributed
throughout the interior of the building. The
Unite dHabitation is essentially a city
within a city that is spatially, as well as,
functionally optimized for the residents.
Corbusiers designs for the city are
grounded in the desire to escape the
The vertical street, the skyscraper, the
death of the street, the destruction of
the sensuality of city life are all proof
positive that he was terrified of the
earth and others.
In the Contemporary City, Corbusier
describes the view from the skyscraper
as not of this earth; it is placid, serene,
and harmonious.
The landscape of Corbusier, regardless
of its evocation of nature, is unsensual,
ahistorical--not of this world.
Sustainable cities offer a better
worldview, one that connects humans,
nature, history, and place with a viable
LeCorbusier vision for the future.