News: the rooftop of Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse housing block in Marseille is to open to the public this summer as a contemporary art space masterminded by French designer Ora-Ïto.
Originally intended as an outdoor gymnasium for the self-contained community of Cité Radieuse – the first building in Le Corbusier's influential Unité d'Habitation project – the rooftop gradually fell into disuse and was put up for sale three years ago.
Ora-Ïto, whose past designs include a spaceship and sedan chair for French auto maker Citroën, stepped in to buy the space and set to work transforming it into an arts centre with a cafe, shop and artists' residences. "I grew up knowing this building, so I couldn't resist that chance to own such an important piece of it," he told the Guardian.
As part of a £6 million restoration jointly funded by Ora-Ïto, the building's co-owners and the French state, a 1950s extension was removed to reveal a sun deck and shower room with coloured tiles.
The exhibition space will be called MAMO, which is short for "Marseille Modulor" and intended as a playful reference to New York's MoMA, where a major Le Corbusier retrospective will take place this summer.
Set to open in June as part of Marseille's 2013 Capital of Culture celebrations, MAMO's first show will be an exhibition by French sculptor Xavier Veilhan, whose Architectones installations are developed specifically for architectural sites.
Earlier this year Foster + Partners completed a polished steel canopy in Marseille's harbour, while we also recently featured Hufton + Crow's photographs of Zaha Hadid's new 142-metre tower in the city – see all projects in Marseille.