Not everything designed by a famous architect is beautiful, and the Corbusier House is a classic example. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and what passes as art is always reason to raise my brows. Commissioned in 1958 to Le Corbusier, the style used for this apartment building is aptly called brutalism, and brutal it is.
The option to visit this architectural wonder was recommended as an addition to the architecture styles of the 1930s and 40s, and although this building doesn’t really fit in the era, it is geographically convenient to swing by after completing the the visit to the Olympic Stadium. I simply shook my head in fascination at the concrete block before me and realised that it somehow tied in nicely with the Olympic Stadium, which should have also been classified as brutalism, if you ask me.
Originally called Unite d’ Habitation Berlin, there are four such buildings around Europe designed by Le Corbusi©r and the one in Berlin was part of a massive post-war re-planification effort, catering to a demand for new and modern housing. The idea was to create a radiant city that contrasted with the grey that predominated the war architecture of the 30s and 40s, which is definitely effective. There is nothing uniform about the facade, and while exploring the inside of the building, I felt as though I was in a hospital more than an apartment building. Each floor is colour coded and the floors are referred to as streets.
My first instinct was to assume that the Corbusier House had become more of a home for the aged, but when I read that over 2000 people live in this single building, my curiosity was piqued. How, in heavens name could 2000 people fit in here? Lots and lots of tiny apartments of varying dimensions, shapes and sizes. As I watched the residents come and go, the diversity of the residents in terms of cultural backgrounds and generation was as mixed as the facade.
I walked away with very mixed feelings about this place. Beautiful is definitely an adjective I would attach to it, but is definitely worth the effort.