Le Corbusier, Roq et Rob, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, 1949
Roq et Rob, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, 1949
These studies are contemporary with those of the Sainte-Baume. They strive for a synthesis of the architecture and the site which is so eloquent of the Côte d’Azur, smothered in the last fifty years by the multiplication of houses in all styles and by bad planning. The countryside of the Côte d’Azur is in danger of being polluted with maisonnettes. Le Corbusier sought for a logical solution. He reasoned thus: why build on the Côte d’Azur? In order to have the benefit of its climate and its superb outlook. The first task is to ensure a good view over the best of the countryside, moreover the country which is to be seen must be preserved and not built over in a haphazard fashion. A wise plan must provide for reserves of nature; architectural features of great sculptural value must be created. Examination of the ancient little towns which stand on the higher parts of the coast, reveals excellent precedents. The houses are crowded together but ail have eyes (windows) towards the infinite horizon. The surrounding countryside remains free for agriculture or simply as a natural reserve. The steep slope itself offers the solution, and the section ensures a good viewpoint. The forms of the buildings also lend themselves to this purpose, particularly tall and narrow blocks such as the Unité d’Habitation at Marseilles.
A technical invention allows perhaps some reduction in costs by greater industrialization.Le Corbusier’s patent called the 226 x 226 x 226, because of the Modulor, creates a cell-unit which has many applications and can be used with great freedom. The principle of this patent is that a single corner-piece is used throughout the construction. It can be used up to a height of two or three storeys. The metal profiles are electrically welded by a special process and the result is a cell-like structure. These fixed volumes lend themselves to contemporary building needs, more than that, they lend themselves to the most ingenious arrangements full of charm and variety.
The illustrations of the second study, “Roq” show a “hotel in a crust”, formed of habitable cells serving all the needs of a hotel, a country hotel of a new sort with separate pavilions. The corridors are replaced by terracing, each terrace planted with citron trees and 3, 4 or 5 yards by 30 or 50 yards long as is usual on the Mediterranean. The section shows the application of the cell on the stepped hillside under the little old town of Roquebrune.
The ground was considered unusable, rising almost vertically from the sea and badly served by a simple path used by customs officers. But habitable ground may well be derived precisely from the abruptness of the slope to the sea. It show one of the first solutions using folded aluminium sheeting. The reinforced concrete roof is covered with grass and earth.
Le Corbusier, Project Roq et Rob, Roquebrune-Cap Martin, and other buildings and projects, 1948-1950. New York : Garland, 1983.
Reviewed by :
Rémi Farwati, Elena Giannitsopoulos, Nadir Bouchene, Adela Plasilova, March 2017