• Short Summary

    Description Le Corbusier, the French architect whose creations have influenced building all
    over the world, is one of the important German and foreign architects to have
    been asked to contribute to the "International Building Exhibition Berlin 1957".

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Description Le Corbusier, the French architect whose creations have influenced building all
    over the world, is one of the important German and foreign architects to have
    been asked to contribute to the "International Building Exhibition Berlin 1957".

    Le Corbusier consented and is building in Berlin, too, what he calls a "Unite
    d'Habitation". The building will be 135 metres long, 23 metres wide and 56
    meters high, its 17 storeys will have 530 flats.

    Selection of Building Site The size of the building excluded its construction in
    the Hansa District where the order of city-planning of the new city district
    would have been disturbed by it. Therefore a building site had to been found
    elsewhere. The city of Berlin provided the "Heilsberg Triangle", a city-owned
    property between the Olympic Stadium and Heerstrasse, the large highway leading
    west. The site is situated on a gentle hill which nevertheless rises above the
    extended residential district surrounding it in landscape scenery.

    Construction work began at the end of last and beginning of this year. The
    concrete foundations were laid by the end of February. The building will be
    under construction during the "International Building Exhibition" with 13 of the
    17 storeys erected.

    Discussions on the Height of Rooms Le Corbusier has developed his own system of
    room s, the "Modulor", after extended studies and calculations. This is based on
    the section area and the measurements of the human body. The two best known
    houses designed by Le Corbusier, at Nantes and Marseille, both have been built
    on the "Modulor" system.

    The first designs which Le Corbusier offered for Berlin were also based on the
    "Modulor" and allowed only for a height of rooms of 2.26 metres (seven foot
    five). Berlin was not inclined to accept these s for Berlin conditions. The size
    and layout of the flats also came in for criticism. There were extended and
    partly passionate public discussions on these problems which were taken as a
    proof of the great interest which Berliners have in city-planning and housing

    It must be stressed that the city building administration did not reject the
    2.26 metres height because this was a violation of building rules which call for
    a height of 2.50 metres (eight foot two). But it was doubted that such flats
    could be let and that this big project would prove to be economical once the
    housing shortage has passed.

    The Le Corbusier project also revived another question of principle - should
    apartment houses be built as skyscrapers? The Berlin building administration is
    not basically opposed to high houses being erected at certain points to
    underline city constructional conceptions and to win more open spaces. But the
    administration believed that such houses could not offer ideal accommodation for
    families with several children. They should therefore be reserved mainly for
    single people and married couples without children. This point of view resulted
    in the Berlin Le Corbusier house containing mostly small and therefore more
    flats as compared with the buildings at Nantes and Marseille. Of the 630 flats,
    428 will have only one or two rooms.

    The famous Frenchman eventually realized as justified the objections of Berlin
    representatives i the many negotiations held with Le Corbusier regarding an
    unconditional copying of his system in Berlin. He decided to design a house
    which he himself called the "Type Berlin". It is a continuation of former works
    of the great French master while taking into account the demands of the Berlin
    situation. All rooms in the Berlin house will be 2.50 metres high. The flats
    will be four metres wide as compared to 3.66 metres in the French "Unite
    d'Habitation". The bed room which in Marseille stretches into the two-storey
    living room like a balcony, will be a separate room with a separate window in

    The Structure of the Flats Nine "rues interieures" (indoor roads) are typical
    for the building. These roads are on the first, third, fifth, seventh, eighth,
    ninth, tenth, 13th and 16th floor, stretching through the whole length of the
    building in its centre. They are artificially lighted. The lifts stop only at
    these roads at which all the flats are situated.

    Three standard units form the basis for the 530 flats of the house. They can be
    differently combined permitting a large variety of types of apartments. The
    first unit includes the entrance door off the "rue interieure", the kitchen and
    the living room. The second one includes the parents' bed room, the toilet and
    the bathroom. The third unit comprises one further room, the study or children's

    Bachelors or couples without children are to have a "type B" flat of only one
    unit. "Type C" with two units, living room and parents' bed room, is suitable
    for parents with one child. Families with several children are to get "Type E"
    flats of all three units which stretch through two storeys. The third room can
    be divided by an extra wall if the tenants wish it. The two storey flats always
    have the unit containing kitchen and living room on the level of the entrance
    door at the inside road. The parents and children rooms of this type are either
    one storey above or below the entrance level. They reach over the whole width of
    the house from east to west so that light and sun are available from both sides.

    All flats with more than a single room stretch over two storeys.

    The house has four side entrances and a main entrance in the northern part which
    leads to the lift tower. There are two passenger lifts and one for goods as well
    as the staircase in the tower. The lifts can be steered by an automatic system.

    Equipment of the flats The living room is separated from the kitchen by a
    cupboard with a glass wall on top. The kitchens are equipped with built-in
    furniture so arranged as to make kitchen work as practical as possible. Flats of
    the types B and C have one balcony, flats of type E have two. The floors of the
    flats are covered with linoleum. Baths and toilets will have a floor of tiles or
    similar material. Bath and toilet are separated from each other. Each flat has
    an odd room for storage.

    Construction of the Building The house is set on seven-metre pillars standing on
    concrete fundaments. This allows the open space to reach under the building. All
    ceilings an the lift tower in the northern part are made of concrete. Partition
    walls between the flats are of ready-made concrete parts which will be cast on
    the building site. Partition walls inside the flats are made of eight-centimetre
    gypsum plates, which dam and sound. The massive ceilings are insulated by a
    layer of coconut matting, a layer of 2.5-centimetre asphalt and one of cork

    Technical Equipment of the Building The technical supply installation are
    specially rationalised in the Berlin building of Le Corbusier. The building is
    linked with the underground public supply system at only one spot. This means
    there is only one electricity connection, water- and telephone connection for
    the whole building, only at one place will the drains from all the flats lead
    into the sewers. This simplification will be very economical but will call for
    strong concentration and rationalisation of the installation not inside the
    house. To achieve this, a "supply floor" is being created which will be hanging
    underneath the first floor between the supporting pillars. Here the large
    horizontal mains are merged in the form of a ring. From this the vertical supply
    mains will rise into the upper floors in hollow shafts so that possible repairs
    will be simpler and cheaper than normally. Only in the flats will the
    installations be invisibly tucked away in the walls. All sewage pipes will be
    made of Eternit.

    Kitchens, baths and toilets are connected with a central ventilation system,
    operating on the vacuum principle and keeping the air is constant movement. Cold
    and warm water will be supplied through a high pressure installation. Garbage
    chutes are also part of the equipment.

    A Power Station in the House The house has its own energy supply station,
    situated north of the entrance near the lift tower. Here a heavy oil heating
    system will supply heat and warm water for the flats and a small power station
    will provide the electricity necessary for the building, about 1.000.000
    kilowatts. This will suffice for the electricity needed to operate the lifts,
    ventilation, high pressure installations and pumps, as well as lighting in the
    staircases and indoor roads. A laundry with four sets of machinery will be
    installed on the upper floor calculated to allow each tenant to wash up to 16
    kilograms of dry washing each month. It has not yet been decided where or how
    many shops or other community accommodation will be placed in the Berlin "Unite

    The Press Office of INTERBAU BERLIN 57 is preparing a special handout about
    details of the construction of the building and its interesting technical

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