Cité de Refuge in Paris was the first public housing project ever completed by Le Corbusier, a godfather of modern architecture. Co-designed with Corbusier's cousin Pierre Jeanneret and commissioned by the Salvation Army, the low-income building was completed in 1933, just one of just two of the architect's complete buildings in Paris.
Beginning in 2011, the Cité de Refuge underwent a massive $36.1 million (€31.7 million) renovation and restoration that wrapped up in November of 2015. Today, the building still functions as public housing, with more than 280 inhabitant. Starting this month, some of those residents -- trained by the Fondation le Corbusier -- will start giving tours of the building by appointment.
At the time it was built, the Cité de Refuge was a revelation. Designed to mimic the shape of an ocean liner, the innovative, 11-story building featured a series of internal concrete columns, floors without load-bearing walls, and a sealed glass curtain wall. This was almost two full decades before curtain wall construction became widely used in the United States.
After the building was damaged by artillery fire in World War II, Corbusier redesigned the structure's facade in 1952, adding a brightly colored brise soleil -- a window screen to deflect the harsh sunlight beating down on the building's southern-facing glass curtain wall. The screen is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
Address: 12 rue de Cantagrel, Paris
Phone: + 33 01 53 61 82 00
To get there: Take the Metro or RER C to the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand
Le Corbusier’s freshly-restored Paris shelter to open to the public [The Art Newspaper]