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Le Corbusier housing project hit by major fire

AFP · 11 Feb 2012, 06:42

Published: 11 Feb 2012 06:42 GMT+01:00

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Firefighters on Friday put out a blaze that raged overnight in La Cité Radieuse, an apartment block built by Le Corbusier and one of France's architectural landmarks.

Forty fire engines and around 200 firefighters battled the blaze throughout the night after it broke out Thursday afternoon on the first floor of the nine-storey concrete complex in the southern city of Marseille.

Eight of the building's 334 apartments were destroyed along with four rooms in the hotel that occupies a middle floor, while 35 other apartments were damaged by smoke or water, firefighters said.

The block's 1,500 residents were evacuated Thursday and five were treated in hospital for light injuries, officials said. The cause of the fire remained unclear, they said.

The Cité Radieuse, whose residents enjoy unobstructed views over Marseille and the Mediterranean, was completed in 1952 and is regarded as one of Le Corbusier's masterpieces.

Described as a "vertical village", the complex stands on giant concrete stilts, contains a restaurant, shops and a gym, and on its roof has a communal terrace that features a running track and a paddling pool for children.

Classified as a historic monument, it was originally designed for social

housing but today is mostly occupied by middle-class professionals.

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