La Cité Radieuse and Hotel Le Corbusier: A Design Oasis in Marseille

It’s not a surprise that the South of France is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, vibrant culture, and exquisite cuisine. In the embrace of the Mediterranean coast rests Marseille, a city that masterfully blends the threads of tradition and modernity. Its sun-soaked streets, animated markets, and storied past converge, creating an irresistible allure for wanderers in pursuit of an authentic French escapade. Today we travel to the doorstep of La Cité Radieuse, a brutalist architecture gem nestled a mere fifteen minutes away from the iconic Prado beach. Completed in 1952, this vertical village has become an emblem of modernist architecture. Let’s discover this unique architectural experience of La Cité Radieuse and Hotel le Corbusier together.

Hotel le Corbusier

At the heart of La Cité Radieuse lies Hotel Le Corbusier – an integral part of La Cité Radieuse that offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the essence of this architectural masterpiece firsthand. As you step into its corridors, you are transported back in time to midcentury modern area.

Public spaces are equally impressive. The rooftop terrace offers breathtaking panoramic views of Marseille, providing a serene retreat for guests to unwind and appreciate the beauty of their surroundings at the pool. The communal areas, such as the restaurant and lounge, showcase a seamless blend of form and function, creating an inviting ambiance for socializing or simply enjoying meal and timeless interior design.

Dining at Le Ventre de l’Architecte

One of the gems in this building is the restaurant called Le Ventre de l’Architecte, where you can have breakfast, lunch or a 5 course dinner. Since November 2021, Ukrainian chef Andreii BONDARENKO has joined the team. This culinary haven showcases local and seasonal ingredients, meticulously crafted and elegantly presented. From exquisitely curated tasting menus to à la carte selections, each dish emerges as a masterpiece, a testament to the culinary team’s dedication and ingenuity.

The restaurant has timeless Midcentury modern style, for example designer’s Charlotte Perriand tables, Scandinavian chairs, Corbusier’s light fixtures “Laroche” as well as Gaetana Aulenti’s famous Pipistrelle table lamp. 

It is worth mentioning that La Cité Radieuse has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2016 and is the only hotel in France that is located in the UNESCO building. This prestigious accolade underscores its significance as a cultural landmark and highlights its enduring influence on modern architecture.

At the core of La Cité Radieuse’s design philosophy is the concept of “l’architecture vivante,” translated as living architecture. Le Corbusier, the visionary behind it, believed that architecture should cater to the needs of its inhabitants and improve their quality of life. This idea shines through in the building’s layout, which emphasizes open spaces, communal areas, and ample natural light.

La Cité Radieuse serves as a prime example of Brutalist architecture, recognizable for its exposed concrete exterior and geometric shapes. Stretching across 18 stories, the building boasts a unique modular design, with each floor housing self-contained apartments. Supported by pilotis, the structure creates an open space beneath it, lending a feeling of airiness and transparency. 

A defining trait of the building is its focus on community and shared living. The building offers a variety of shared facilities, including a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, a gym, and even a hotel and restaurant. These communal spaces foster a sense of togetherness among residents, cultivating a vibrant and inclusive community spirit. The interiors meld clean lines, organic shapes, and thoughtfully selected furnishings. Natural materials like wood, stone, and leather add warmth and texture, while splashes of color and art installations inject playfulness and visual interest. Light takes centre stage in La Cité Radieuse’s design, with strategically placed windows and skylights casting ever-changing patterns of light and shadow. This dynamic interplay enhances the sense of space, making the architecture come alive in a captivating way.


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