Dear Mr Dino Cinieri,Ladies and Gentlemen elected, Mr President of the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, dear François de Mazières,Mr President of the Fondation Le Corbusier, dear Jean-PierreDuport,President of the Association des sites Le Corbusier, dear MarcPetit,Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the end of the great stories, with what Marcel Gauchet calls
«disillusionment of the world», the global, unique and planetary reason
has disappeared before a soft, plastic, labile thought
language of contemporary architects. Today, utopia
architectural has become active: instead of «transcending reality», it
to live with it, to comment on it, to settle with the real
its very principle of existence. The International Workshop of Greater Paris in
its functioning as in its achievements fully reveals it.

There is probably, if we think about it, one of the legacies left by
Le Corbusier in its constant dialogue with aesthetic tradition
as with the idea of architecture as the realization of utopia and
promoting new ways of life.

So let me tell you how pleased I am to meet you again
around the work of Le Corbusier and this exciting project
to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

This approach was initiated almost ten years ago by the Ministry of
Culture and Communication and enthusiastically followed by our
Swiss, German and Belgian neighbours but also our Argentine and
Japan. It is all the stronger because it is fundamental to the
influence and coherence of a heritage policy that UNESCO
has made it its mission to promote and that France has always
resolutely defended.

We must remember the emotion of André MALRAUX on the occasion of
the funeral tribute he paid to the "old master" on September 1, 1965,
in the square courtyard of the Louvre, the one he said: None meant
with such force the architecture revolution, because none was so
long, so patiently, insulted.” All mourned the loss
an inventor, a revolutionary spirit for whom manifests
were boldly written in the power of forms and purity of
concrete. Malraux, already, was not mistaken in celebrating the work before
man, sublimating the memory of an architectural activist whose
monumental traces are, even today, the most

What brings us all together today, beyond our commitment
for an exceptional work, it is the awareness that the
architectural discipline is not quite the same since the
Corbusier engaged in such intense dialogue with architectural tradition
and so stimulating. Deconstructing to build better, this is what constitutes the
«Copernican revolution» initiated by Le Corbusier. It was first necessary to
the foundations of a conventional architectural language, the
to confront its conformity to propose innovative principles,
supported by a new method.

This dialogue was not against architecture: it fed it, it has
enriched. Moreover, it has never ceased when we see how much reflection
carried by Le Corbusier installs his constructions and his writings in the heart of
current events. Witness to the progress of industrialization and
“tragic” that cross the great city, the architect proposes to
new spatial organizations facing urban concentration, and with
they are a unique way of life.

The ambition of his research is reflected in his buildings:
its place at the heart of a changing society, its
relationship to progress, its role in a more harmonious community, its
right to well-being. So many principles appear today as
priorities different architectural policies in the world, through
which architecture forms a cultural, social,
first-class environmental and aesthetic design. This
"the intelligence of the landscape", this "humanism with an urban face" that
I intend to promote for nearly two years rue de Valois, this is the
thought of Le Corbusier who introduced him. His achievements brought him into
in the field of current affairs.

The legitimacy of Le Corbusier sites' candidacy for inscription in the
UNESCO World Heritage is not to be demonstrated. It is based on
the exceptional conceptual and built heritage that the architect left in
France, in Europe and around the world. This memory of the gesture
has a tangible reality, perfectly preserved through the 19 sites
selected. It is also distinguished by its consistency, since these
sites have all contributed to the development of the Modern Movement, whose
the questions and the plastic achievements have deeply
influenced 20th century urban thinking.

If France is so fervently presenting this dossier, if it is pleased to
Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United
Belgium, Argentina and Japan, it is also because the
even heritage is at stake. Le Corbusier’s architectural work
is a worldwide demonstration of the vitality of the
heritage. The latter cannot and should not be considered as
frozen and sterile memory, but as an active element in the
building our own living environment, our own culture.

Today, I hope that the quality of this dossier will
convince the World Heritage Committee of the necessary inscription
Le Corbusier sites for the common good. UNESCO would do this
pioneering work, as well as the work of Le Corbusier, in
classifying for the first time a property whose distribution over three
continents was decisive for each of the countries concerned.
In many respects, the candidacy that we are making together appears
as a unique object. Unique by its homogeneity, unique also by its
ability to bring people together across borders. It could not be
otherwise for an architect who, first, had a planetary success,
offering a new dimension to the “factory of architecture” and a
unprecedented scale to the profession of architect. This is why the work
Le Corbusier’s architectural vocation is to
exceptional heritage recognized worldwide. It is a heritage in
movement, which knows how to travel, inspire, marvel all over the world,
it is a heritage witness of a century and its evolution; it is in
in other words a resolutely current and deeply

From the Little House on Lake Geneva to the Doctor’s House
Currutchet in La Plata, from the Cité Radieuse in Marseille to the
Weissenhof-Siedlung in Stuttgart, from the Tokyo Museum of Western Art to
Convent of the Tourette, the constant concern to invent under all its
forms an ordinary and common house for normal men and
Also has universal value.

The Corbusier sought above all to create models of living space,
combining technical innovation, city research, social and
poetry of shapes and colors. This multiple experiment gives to
its projects an exemplary force, at the point of contact between
individual fulfilment and collective well-being. If it is easy not to see
that a utopia – that inherited from the “ideal cities” in the manner of Filarete,
that of the German expressionists of the 1920s in the manner of
Bruno Taut and his Utopian Letters - I note however that this
visionary requirement remains fundamental in the definition of a
innovative life and in a sustainable project for the city of the 21st century.

You understand, for all these reasons, I feel great pride
in carrying out this rigorous and original nomination.
How can we not be enthusiastic when we consider all the
invested partners: States Parties, site owners, the
central and decentralized services of my ministry, all experts,
researchers and professors who have put their knowledge at the service of
this recognition, but also, I would like to point out, the elected representatives of the cities
territories. I would like to pay tribute to my
friend Dino Cinieri, MP for the Loire and Mayor of Firminy from 2001 to 2008. He
symbolizes better than anyone the success of Le Corbusier. Child of the
popular district of Firminy-Vert, designed by Charles Delfante in the spirit
of the “Charter of Athens”, he succeeded in convincing of the need to
the unfinished work of the Church of Saint Peter, a
The Corbusier delivered in 1965 at the time of his disappearance. It is he, the worker,
son of an Italian migrant, who became an entrepreneur, who had the courage to
to transform what was perceived as a handicap, which was the subject of controversy and
of misunderstandings, as an asset for its city and for the attractiveness of
the agglomeration of St. Peter’s Church
of the Museum of Modern Art of Saint-Etienne, concluded, with the support of
architect Roger Aujame, companion of Le Corbusier, member of the
Foundation, former of UNESCO, it is he who carried the project of candidacy
to the World Heritage of Firminy, this candidacy that brings us together
today. Through these words, it is to all local actors, from
elected representatives of the territory, whom I intend to honour, for their commitment and
their resolution in this inscription that engages the radiation
of France. I would also like to recall the role played by the
Resistant Eugene Claudius Petit, Minister of Reconstruction and
Planning, then Minister of Housing under the Fourth Republic, figure of
enlightened and modernist centrism, personal friend of Le Corbusier, who
offered the chance to build Firminy, of which he was mayor from 1953.
but also in Marseille.

Now that the case has been strengthened and consolidated, I want to remember
of the many meetings that marked its gestation. I want to recall
the commitment of all the people who, since 2004, are committed to
with passion and professionalism to bring Le Corbusier’s work to life.

The promoters of this application are numerous, I would like
thank them all. I would like to greet in particular the
remarkable work by Gilles RAGOT, Bénédicte GANDINI and
French section of Icomos for the drafting and coordination of the
new dossier to be presented to the World Heritage Committee
next June. I also want to salute the total involvement of
the Fondation Le Corbusier and its president Mr Prefect Jean-
Pierre DUPORT, as well as the Association des sites Le Corbusier
and all the elected representatives who participate. Their role is absolutely decisive for
animation, valuation and management of heritage sites

I know how invested you all are in this
long term. Do not doubt, its outcome will, of course, if you want
well follow the optimism of Le Corbusier, «radiant».

Thank you.