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Société

La cité radieuse de Marseille, une œuvre signée Le Corbusier

jeudi 27 août 2015 à 6:00 Par Isabelle Lassalle, France Bleu Provence

L’architecte a marqué la ville de son empreinte avec l’édification de la "Cité radieuse" entre 1947 et 1952, aussi appelée "la Maison du fada". À l’occasion du cinquantième anniversaire du décès de l’architecte ce jeudi 27 août, retour sur cette Unité d’habitation marseillaise.

La cité radieuse de Marseille.
La cité radieuse de Marseille. © MaxPPP

Au 280 du boulevard Michelet, dans le 8e arrondissement de Marseille, se dresse un bâtiment original, bâti sur pilotis, organisé comme un village vertical où logent entre 1 200 et 1 600 habitants. L’immeuble est classé aux Monuments historiques depuis 1995.

L’immeuble abrite 337 appartements regroupés autour de rues intérieures avec quelques commerces et un hôtel de 21 chambres. Sur le toit terrasse, accessible à tous les résidents, une petite piscine pour les enfants et un gymnase. Ce dernier a été reconverti en 2013 en lieu d’exposition, il accueille la fondation artistique du MaMo (Marseille Modulor).

Et durant l'été 2014, Buren s'est installé chez le Corbusier , sur le toit de la cité radieuse, transformé en lieu d'exposition à ciel ouvert, accessible gratuitement au grand public. "Défini, fini, infini" , la proposition de Daniel Buren jouait à la fois avec les formes, les couleurs et les perspectives de l’œuvre de béton de Le Corbusier. Chaque année, le Mamo invite ainsi un artiste pour une carte blanche sur le toit du bâtiment.

L'exposition de Daniel Buren sur le toit de la cité radieuse.

Les objectifs du projet

Pour l’État français, qui passe commande auprès de Le Corbusier, il s’agit de répondre rapidement à un manque de logements sociaux . À la sortie de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la France a besoin de reconstruire des habitations.

Pour l’architecte, le bâtiment doit permettre la construction de villes nouvelles . L’idée est d’agrandir les dimensions de la construction pour l’inscrire à l’intérieur d’un espace vert et d’y implanter certains équipements communs comme une école ou un gymnase.

La cité radieuse a été finalisée en 1952, d'autres unités d'habitation sortiront également de terre : Rezé en 1955, Briey en 1961, Firminy en 1967 et une cinquième, à Berlin en 1957.

" Je vous ai donné un outil, c'est à vous de l'utiliser. "Le Corbusier, le jour de l'inauguration de la cité radieuse

La cité radieuse, un bloc de béton sur pilotis. - Maxppp
La cité radieuse, un bloc de béton sur pilotis. © Maxppp

Le principe de la construction

Les logements traversent toute la largeur du bâtiment avec des ouvertures est-ouest, sur les deux façades principales. Il existe 23 types d’appartements différents , mais tous sont conçus sur le principe du duplex et comportent deux niveaux. Ils sont également prolongés par une loggia vers l’extérieur, comme une villa qui serait suspendue au-dessus du sol.

Ces loggias extérieures sont toutes colorées. Sur le même principe, certains éléments intérieurs tels que les portes des appartements ou les boîtes aux lettres affichent les couleurs vives des façades : bleu, vert, jaune, rouge et terre de Sienne (à l'extérieur) ou jaune orangé (à l'intérieur).

La cité radieuse de Marseille s’appuie sur le principe du Modulor . C’est un système de mesures de la morphologie humaine basé sur le nombre d’or : le rapport entre la taille (1m83) et la hauteur du nombril (1m13). Un bas-relief le rappelle sur l’une des façades du bâtiment.

À lire aussi : l'appartement 50, le logement-type, « réglé » par les nombres et les rapports de la série du « modulor ».

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Bas-relief Modulor. © Maxppp

Les particularités de la cité marseillaise

L’imposant bâtiment mesure 137m de long pour 24m de large sur 56m de haut. Contrairement aux quatre autres unités d’habitation réalisées par le Corbusier, la cité radieuse de Marseille comporte une rue centrale avec quelques commerces  : pâtisserie, restaurant, hôtel, librairie et crèche.

Le toit terrasse abrite des équipements publics  : la cour de récréation de l’école maternelle, une pataugeoire et une piste d’athlétisme. À l’époque de sa construction, il y avait un gymnase qui a été transformé en centre culturel.

Si les premiers occupants de la cité radieuse étaient des familles modestes et de classe moyenne , aujourd'hui, le bâtiment attire une population de cadres supérieurs et de professions intellectuelles.

Très décriée lors de son inauguration , la cité radieuse a été la cible de nombreuses critiques politiques et architecturales (dont certaines perdurent). Mais "ce cube de béton " s'est finalement bien intégré dans la ville de Marseille et il accueille, chaque année, de très nombreux touristes.

Le toit terrasse de la cité radieuse de Marseille. - Maxppp
Le toit terrasse de la cité radieuse de Marseille. © Maxppp

Pour en savoir plus, le site de la cité radieuse à Marseille.