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French national landmark damaged by fire

The City Raideuse, an iconic apartment block designed by Le Corbusier and one of France’s architectural landmarks, was beset with a major fire last Thursday. Forty fire engines and nearly 200 firefighters reportedly battled the blaze throughout the night in the nine-storey complex located in the southern city of Marseille. Eight of the building’s 334 apartments were destroyed and four rooms in the hotel, which occupies the middle floor. An additional 35 apartments were damaged by smoke or water. The block’s 1,500 residents were evacuated and some sustained light injuries, officials said. The cause of the fire remains unclear.

The Cite Radieuse is one of Le Corbusier’s masterpieces. Described as a ‘vertical village’ raised on giant concrete stilts, known as piloti, the complex contains a restaurant, shops and a gym and a communal roof terrace that features a running track and wading pool. The Cite Radieuse was radical in concept when it was built in 1952. Classified as a historic monument, it was designed originally for social housing, which never panned out, and is occupied by middle-class professionals.

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