A Register of User Adaptations is an assessment of the post-design adaptations of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation, Briey-en-Forêt. In light of the building’s complex post-occupancy history, this ongoing study aims to critically evaluate the idea of architectural success in social housing.
The photographic and drawing-based project highlights the relatively unknown history of the Unité at Briey, asking how today’s lifestyles and needs relate to Le Corbusier’s ideas on housing. The architects worked with L’association La Première Rue – a collective of artists and architects formed to protect the Unité – to conceive and realise a significant piece of post-occupancy evaluation. They recorded residents’ stories to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the building as an example of organic architectural urbanism and a framework for personal reactions and interactions. Although dismissed by many as a failed project by Le Corbusier, the degree of adaptation and sense of community observed suggests that the criteria of ‘success’ in architecture be reconsidered.