|Number of Storeys:||2-storey|
|Type of Building:||semi-detached|
|Number of Units:||2|
|Other Uses:||potential workshop, office space on ground floor|
Le Corbusier's Maisons Loucheur were developed as one response to the Loi Loucheur, a government programme under which a total of 200,000 dwellings for sale and 60,000 for rent were built within 5 years (a number well below the 1 million dwellings needed). The architect, who had been working on the idea of the adaptable floor plan since his Maison Dom-ino project (1914), proposed a small raised building of 46 m2 within which moveable and fold down furniture makes the best use of the tightly planned area through the course of the day. The doubling of uses within each area expands the house, according to Le Corbusier's calculations, to give the equivalent of 71 m2.
Le Corbusier had already explored this idea in his buildings for the Weissenhofsiedlung, which have a central living area that is one large space during the day and turns into a diversified series of spaces at night. For the Maisons Loucheur, however, the moveability is taken to its extreme with complex systems of moveable walls, and folding and moveable beds allowing multi-usage of the same space.
A thick stone wall provides the backbone for two units, one attached to either side of the wall. The units themselves were envisaged as entirely prefabricated: they would leave the factory on the back of a lorry complete with interior finishes and could be put up within the matter of days. The house was designed for a family with up to four children: a large room or salle for dining and other daytime activities, a kitchen that can be shut away by means of a sliding screen, beds that disappear beneath built-in wardrobe elements and thereby make space for a work or study table - all arranged around the central freestanding bathroom element. The area under the building, as in later American examples, can be appropriated by the user for their own needs, from simple storage to adaptation as a workshop.
Benton, T., 'Le Corbusier and the Loi Loucheur', AA files, 1984, pp. 54-60.
Ford, E. R., The Details of Modern Architecture, Volume 2 : 1928 to 1988, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996.
Werner, J., 'Alltags-Anpassungen', ARCH+, 1989, pp. 50-59.