Modern Duplex

Le Corbusier architect
Marseille (13)

140 sqm
5 bedrooms
1 bathroom, 1 shower room


A real collector’s item to live in the Cité Radieuse

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016, Marseille’s Cité Radieuse is an icon of Le Corbusier’s work. Built between 1948 and 1952 in the context of Reconstruction, it represents the culmination of his research into housing and modern architecture.

This upstairs duplex apartment offers 140 m² of living space. The ground floor comprises an entrance hall, a double-height lounge (4.80 m high ceilings) opening onto a beautiful balcony and a kitchen. The first floor comprises a master suite with bathroom, 4 bedrooms (3 with washbasins) and a shower room. The flat has views over the park and the sea. It boasts quality fixtures and fittings, with solid oak parquet flooring, plenty of storage space and original features, including the kitchen designed by Charlotte Perriand.

Located in Marseille, it is part of the beautiful 8th arrondissement. It is set in three hectares of parkland, between the hills and the sea. With two levels of services including a shopping mall with local shops and a hotel, as well as a nursery school, a solarium, a swimming pool and an open-air theatre on the roof, accompanied by permanent security guards, the Cité Radieuse offers an exceptional quality of life.

Sculptural forms and the play of light

Exploiting the plastic and technical possibilities of concrete, Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse is a housing unit, a concrete structure on stilts into which duplex flats and services are inserted. The regular grid of the façade, with its prefabricated concrete sunbreakers, is matched on the roof by sculptural forms, such as the large chimney.

Both inside and outside the building, the architect has created a colour scheme based on the primary colours that cover the inside of the loggias and the flat doors.

Based on the modulor, a human silhouette whose proportions are inspired by the golden ratio, the spaces in this flat are adapted to the human body and offer a high level of comfort. What’s more, it still features many of the period features designed by Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier

Born in Switzerland in 1887 and died in 1965, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier, was an architect and town planner renowned for his ability to turn architecture into a total art. He thought about buildings and interior design in terms of both furnishings and comfort, and took the urban planning dimension into account in all his creations. He remains undeniably one of the most emblematic figures of the Modern Movement.

Throughout his career, Le Corbusier shared his visions and theories through his participation in international exhibitions such as that of 1925, where he presented the Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau, and that of 1937, with his Pavillon des Temps Nouveaux.

A defender of modernism and rejecting the decorative arts, Le Corbusier inscribed his architectural thinking in his villas, most notably in the villa Savoye in 1928, where he theorised the “five points of modern architecture” (pilotis, the flat roof, banded windows, the free facade and the free plan).

Although he was one of the most prolific architects of his time, many of his projects never saw the light of day, such as the Neighbour Plan or the Contemporary city of three million inhabitants. Although sometimes too polemical or radical in the eyes of the general public, Le Corbusier’s work nevertheless had international resonance. His last major project was offered to him by the city of Chandigarh, India. He was commissioned to direct all the urban planning work for the creation of the new capital of Punjab, where he blended raw concrete with lush vegetation. 

History of the Cité Radieuse

The construction of the Unité d’habitation de Marseille, Le Corbusier’s first commission from the French government, was part of the reconstruction of the city of Marseille. At the time, the city had benefited from the buildings of great modern architects, such as Fernand Pouillon, who rebuilt the Old Port of Marseille under the direction of Auguste Perret for the master plan, combining traditional know-how, innovative construction techniques and respect for the site.

The Cité Radieuse in Marseille or “maison du fada” was the first housing unit built by Le Corbusier in France, before those in Rezé, Briey, Firminy and Berlin. Collective housing played a very important role in Le Corbusier’s thinking, and the housing unit had its origins in the villa building that he designed in the 1920s, as a means of urban renewal combining housing and services. In the 1930s, he theorised the concept of the “housing unit”, which he used in the reconstruction plan for Saint-Dié in 1944, which was never completed, and which he implemented in Marseille. Designed as a vertical garden city, the housing unit brings together all the functions associated with housing: flats, shops, schools, leisure facilities and living spaces.

This “living machine” is built according to the five points of modern architecture published in 1926 by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret under the title Les cinq points d’une nouvelle architecture (the five points of a new architecture): the stilts, the roof terrace, the free plan, the free facade and the long windows, which Le Corbusier introduced at the end of the 1920s to create masterpieces such as the Villa Stein and the Villa Savoye.In 2003, the residents of Marseille’s Cité Radieuse celebrated the building’s fiftieth anniversary, with exhibitions, flea markets, a film club, a games room and a reading club. They celebrated the “Corbu spirit”, which encouraged a new form of sociability by creating interior streets and living spaces. In 2013, the city of Marseille was named European Capital of Culture for its rich artistic heritage.

This exceptional example of housing architecture was listed as a Historic Monument in 1986, and a show flat preserving its original décor was listed in 1995. The building has been the subject of a restoration campaign since 1988.

Additional information


Le Corbusier


Marseille (13)