Appearance of a Housing Machine.

  The Unité in Berlin © L. Bunte  

Appearances of a Housing Machine. The Photographic Analysis of the "Unité d'Habitation" in Berlin.

Leonie Bunte
Theoretical masterthesis in the field of architecture | FT 2021/22 | RWTH Aachen University

Chair of Art History
Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Alexander Markschies
Dr. phil. Birgit Schillak-Hammers

Chair and research department for Historic Building Conservation and Research  
Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Raabe



Since the last century, the field of architecture has experienced a rapid development in media representation which influences not only the creation of buildings but also their perception. Photographs of buildings, released in various publications, online-/magazines and on social media, provide viewers with stereotyped images. They influence and sometimes even replace the perception of the building on site.This paper focuses on the analysis of the photographic survey of the "Unité d'Habitation" in Berlin and the perception of this building through photographic experiments. The residential building developed as part of the Interbau in 1957 is the third of five Unités realised by Le Corbusier. The architect disregarded the completed building because of several variations made to the original design in the course of construction. Initially criticized by the public, the so-called “Corbusierhaus” is later appreciated and staged by architectural photography today as a true Le Corbusier’s masterpiece. Of contemporary interest is the non-material value of its photographic image. Only an awareness and analysis of the given images enable a critical perception of architecture. As the destiny of the building seems to be increasingly trusted to the power of images, the paper identifies the inevitable synergy of architecture and photography in the case of the Unité and illustrates new ways of reading architecture through photographic experiments.