Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation is a Berlin landmark. But the Brutalist icon, constructed in 1959, wasn’t exactly what the famed architect had in mind when he first designed it.
Le Corbusier conceived the steel and concrete high-rise as part of his larger Unité d’Habitation concept, which reimagined a more efficient and utilitarian vision of urban living. According to ArchDaily, Le Corbusier wanted the Berlin building to be a replica of his first Unité d’Habitation concept in Marseille, France, but a clash with Berlin authorities likely required that he significantly alter the interior.
Now, at least one unit in the Berlin building has achieved its intended form thanks to architect Philipp Mohr, who purchased the building in 2016 with the goal of restoring it to Le Corbusier’s original vision. Mohr and his team spent more than two years consulting with archivists, shopping for antiques, referencing the Marseille building, and making alterations to the interior to create a faithful recreation.
Mohr lowered the ceiling height by 24 centimeters and replaced the units’ kitchen and stairs with designs that had been auctioned off from the Marseille building. Finishing touches like paint colors and furniture were the product of studying archival photographs.
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