The principles developed by Le Corbusier when designing his Cité Radieuse in Marseille and those emphasised in the Athens Charter inspired the creators of this complex, which symbolises Belgian progressive thinking in terms of social housing on the eve of the 1958 World Fair. However, the original design was modified because the state, which had been required to provide financial assistance to complete the complex, pulled out in favour of the Foyer Laekenois housing association. Some 850 apartments were built in ten years. Standing freely surrounded by green spaces, the tower blocks were built on piles in order to free up the ground. Architects Jean van _Dosselaere, René Paris, Victor Coolens and Renaat Braem, a student of Le Corbusier, contributed to the design of Cité Modèle. The estate covers an area of 17 hectares. It is made up of a series of gardens: the garden stairs, the winter garden and the water garden, an arrangement inspired by the concepts of landscape architect Gilles Clément according to which green spaces are living spaces in motion that must be allowed to freely develop. The highlight of the site is its biodiversity, with wild meadows overflowing with native herbaceous plants such as poppies, cornflowers, corncockle and foxgloves. A community vegetable garden has also been developed, with an orchard peppered with nesting boxes, a composting area and a beehive installed on a roof.