Vic Hoyland

06: Unité D’Habitation and Le Corbusier

Unite D’Habitation, Le Corbusier, Marseille

Unité D’Habitation, Le Corbusier, Marseille

Architecture is as much basic arithmetic as well as geometry, since it actually occupies physical space. Geometry can aspire to express 3 dimensional space - that is perspective in visual art (where properties of the circle help to create Fibonacci). Music can aspire to 4 dimensions by measuring time. (Jean Nouvel does this by making his building ‘move’, in response to the light from the sun.) That building is 24 squares long (plus a stairwell), in order to match the 24 hours of a day. Mechanisms, which fill every window, are activated by sunlight. Consequently, each window will produce slightly different patterns.

I made use of the architectural plans of Unité (built in 1946: more or less the time that I was born) to create EM for 24 voices (1970). On the left side of his building there is a communal staircase, which is an add-on to the building and rises to its full height (gardens and an open-air café were planned for the top of this building). The full length of this building is raised off the ground – for parking I presume. There are two ventilation shafts/towers situated on top of the structure.