A Converted Boiler Room Designed by Le Corbusier Asks $450K in France

The decommissioned structure was built in the 1950s for France’s La Cité Radieuse Housing Project in Briey-en-Forêt.

Text by
Published by

When you hear the name Le Corbusier—the master designer and pioneer of the modern movement—chances are a boiler room is not the first thing that will come to mind. Yet, a tiny structure hidden near France's border with Luxembourg offers the opportunity to own a unique piece of architectural history. Originally built for one of Le Corbusier's famous "Unité d'habitation" housing projects, the former utility building was converted into a quirky weekend retreat years ago, and now it's up for sale.

Built in the 1950s, the cubic structure was designed by Le Corbusier to house the coal boiler for his "Unité d'habitation of Briey" public housing project. The structure was decommissioned and abandoned when a new boiler room was built inside the apartment building years later.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

The current owner purchased the building in its original condition and transformed it into a split-level, single family residence. The renovated structure was recently classified as a French Historical Monument, along with the rest of the housing complex. 

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

Get the Pro Newsletter

What’s new in the design world? Stay up to date with our essential dispatches for design professionals.


Efforts to rebuild France after WWII provided Le Corbusier with the opportunity to realize his long-held ideas for communal public housing. Also known as his "Radiant City" designs, the Brutalist structures employed a high-rise concrete framework into which various apartment floor plans could be modularly arranged. 

The first and most famous of the projects was built in Marseille, in the south of France, with others locations following throughout the 1950s and 60s. The converted boiler room sits on the site of the Le Corbusier's "Radiant City" in Briey, a small and charming town located a few hours west of Paris and bordered by thick forests.

The smooth concrete facade is adorned by a series of ribbon windows along the top of three sides. Lush greenery surrounds the building and separates it from the main housing complex.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

Inside, the upper-level is now an open living area. The windows provide a panoramic view of the forested area.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

Dense greenery surrounding the main apartment building provided an easy way for Le Corbusier to hide the boiler in a separate structure across the street. Later decommissioned and sold along with a .35-acre parcel of land, the original double-height boiler room was divided into two levels, with an expansive ground floor workspace and upstairs living area. The current owners, unhindered by load-bearing walls, created an open and multi-functional floor plan. Keep scrolling to see more of the interior of the property, which was recently listed for approximately $450,000.

Le Corbusier designed seven inward-turned buttresses to support the concrete framework. Out of a vast shell, the current owners created two main levels while leaving the framework and some original features exposed.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

An open office and living room span along one half of the upstairs. Interior walls enclose several bedrooms.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

An American-style kitchen was built into a corner adjacent to the living room.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

Stairs lead down to a multi-purpose space along the original boiler room floor. An intermediary balcony provides access to a separate bedroom and bathroom that was used as a nightly rental.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

This vast lower level currently houses the resident's artwork, but could also serve as an office or a public exhibition hall. Three smaller rooms are nearby, including an additional toilet.

Photo courtesy of Patrice Besse

The property is currently listed for 413,000 € (approximately $451,000) by Patrice Besse Castles and Mansions of France.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.


Last Updated


Le Corbusier