© 2013 Miro Roman

Ville Radieuse – Le Corbusier – 1924

from: Towards a new Architecture

One day Auguste Perret created the phrase: “The City of Towers.” A glittering epithet which aroused the poet in us. A word which struck the note of the moment because the fact itself is imminent! Almost unknown to us, the “great city” is engendering its plan. This plan may well be a gigantic affair, since the great city is a rising tide. It is time that we should repudiate the existing lay-out of our towns, in which the congestion of buildings grows greater, interlaced by narrow streets full of noise, petrol fumes and dust; and where on each storey the windows open wide on to this foul confusion. The great towns have become too dense for the security of their inhabitants and yet they are not sufficiently dense to meet the new needs of” modern business.” If we take as our basis the vital constructional event which the American sky-scraper has proved to be, it will be sufficient to bring together at certain points (relatively distant) the great density of our modern populations and to build at these points enormous constructions of 6o storeys high. Reinforced concrete and steel allow of this audacity and lend themselves in particular to a certain development of the fac;:ade by means of which all the windows have an uninterrupted view : in this way, in the future, inside courts and “wells” will no longer exist. Starting from the fourteenth storey you have absolute calm and the purest air. In these towers which will shelter the worker, till now stifled in densely packed quarters and congested streets, all the necessary services, following the admirable practice in America, will be assembled, bringing efficiency and economy of time and effort, and as a natural result the peace of mind which is so necessary. These towers, rising up at great distances from one another, will give by reason of their height the same accommodation that has up till now been spread out over the
superficial area ; they will leave open enormous spaces in which would run, well away from them, the noisy arterial roads, full of a traffic which becomes increasingly rapid. At the foot of the towers would stretch the parks : trees covering the whole town. The setting out of the towers would form imposing avenues; there indeed is an architecture worthy of our time.

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