In the early 1950s, the town of Firminy began planning the construction of a new district, Firminy-Vert. Nicknamed Firminy-la-Noire in the 1950s, the town intended to offer its residents a new living environment and a genuine “centre for the re-creation of body and mind”.

The master plan for the district was drawn up by André Sive, Marcel Roux, Charles Delfante and Jean Kling, who proposed it to Le Corbusier for correction. The plan was inspired by the Athens Charter and incorporated the principles of the Ville Radieuse developed by Le Corbusier.

The mayor, Eugène Claudius-Petit, former Minister for Reconstruction and Town Planning and a friend of Le Corbusier, wanted the complex to include a cultural centre, a sports centre and housing.