The Radiant City


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Modernist Architecture: The Radiant City

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 city. 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.

On his 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 From to he undertook the design and construction of the Unit d'Habitation in Marseilles.

The resulting Plan was a variation on the Ville Radieuse, adapted for a very specific culture and landscape 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 women.

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.

Chandigarh: The Fight for the Radiant City

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. 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. Chandigarh represents an explosion in urban scale, which has yet to be replicated, a possible sign of its consequences.

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 x 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 meters in length. Including these altered sectors the average for the detail area and the city as a whole is a segment length of meters. 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 , 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. The Radiant Citys influence was not exclusive to the world of urban planning. Contained 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 projects.

Worth Reading

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 together. With nearly 1, 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 spaces.

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. CRITICS Corbusiers designs for the city are grounded in the desire to escape the earth 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.

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  3. Ville Radieuse: Le Corbusier’s Functionalist Plan for a Utopian “Radiant City”.
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Jump to Page. Search inside document. 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. 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 , 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.

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