Architect's Eye Photography Competition
Neil Dusheiko has won First Prize in the Architect's Eye photography competition with his image of Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation [ 1952], Marseilles, France. The image was entered in the Architecture and People category and the prize was awarded at a prize giving ceremony at the gallery run by the International Art Consultants.
An exhibition of all 19 competition finalists across both categories can be viewed by appointment at the Galleries, 15 Dock Street, London E1 8JL from November 23 to 30. Please call 020 7481 1337 to arrange a viewing.
Here is some information about the winning image:
Unité d'Habitation  - Le Corbusier , Marseilles, France
In the practice of architecture it is a constant struggle to realise a social agenda within the procurement process of a building that often has a long gestation period. The Unite was a radical solution to a housing problem that managed to survive several successive city governments with little compromise to its architectural integrity.
The Unite d’Habitation is a courageous architectural experiment, borne out an architect’s believe that a buildings social program can positively alter the way people live. The Unite is the perfect example of Corbusier’s humanitarian ideology. The numerous copies of the Unite, have never achieved the success of the original and have resulted in Corbusier sometimes being seen as an ‘inhumane’ architect and the designer of high density slum housing built out of raw concrete.
However, the Unite is an utopian vision of a the Garden City model realized in an urban context. The building is extremely innovative. Its system of measurement is based on sixteen variations of the modular allowing for a multiplicity of spaces and elements all relating to
one another in perfect harmony.
The use of local seashells and the locally manufactured tiles of Phillipe Sourdive, cast into the in-situ concrete, soften its rough industrial Breton brut construction. Functionally it has everything one would expect to find in an urban area contained within the mega-structure itself. It has a school, hotel, library, galleries, shops and a large variety of family housing that can be easily adapted to accommodate large or small families. Most of the accommodation is dual aspect allowing for natural ventilation to cool the apartments and orientating the functions according to the optimum solar alignment. It is also raised off the ground to allow the nature [and cars] to flow below it and it has a roof garden with a crèche, gymnasium, cinema and swimming pool. The rooftop is an idealised Mediterranean landscape, high above the pollution and noise of the streets below – its vistas connected to the natural landscape of the hills around Marseilles.
This photo shows that the architect had a strong understanding of how people could live in a better way both from a cultural perspective and also how to adapt a building to suit its climate and geographic location.
On the day I was there, it was extremely hot and to my joy I found that some of the residents were using the pool and sitting congregated under the many brise soleils. This photograph of the swimming pool and nursery above with the cooling tower / exhaust in the background is an attempt to recall the early purist paintings of Le Corbusier where he merged sculptural objects in a series of layered planes. There is richness and a joy in the building and its connection to the city in the distance allows one to begin to think deeply about ones sense of community beyond the confines of ones immediate environment.
Link to article by Jonathan Glancey [opens a new window]
Link to Architect's Eye website [opens a new window]