Beyond their support function, the pilotis (or piers) raise the architectural volume, lighten it and free a space for circulation under the construction. They refine a building's connectivity with the land by allowing for parking, garden or driveway below while allowing a sense of floating and lightness in the architecture itself. In hurricane-prone areas, pilotis may be used to raise the inhabited space of a building above typical storm surge levels.
Le Corbusier used them in a variety of forms from slender posts to the massive brutalist look of the Marseilles Housing Unit (1945–1952) with a range of bases, inclusions and surfaces. This was part of Le Corbusier's idea of machine-like efficiency where land, people and buildings would work together optimally.