October 20, 2014

Maison-de-Verre™ French Theme - Steel/Glass: Paris Architecture - Pierre Chareau

Pierre Chareau's Maison de Verre
The Original Glass House

Presented by Stardust Modern Design

“For architects it represents the road not taken: a lyrical machine whose theatricality is the antithesis of the dry functionalist aesthetic that reigned through much of the 20th century.”
(Nicolai Ousaroff, The New York Times, “The Best House in Paris,” 8/29/07) 

This is, really, the most spectacular or at least the most provocative view of the Maison de Verre - I mean, the door opens up from the street, you look ahead, and it's just this totally bizarre new world up ahead, completely filling the frame.
(Addison Godel, “Flickr,” 8/24/08)

Designed by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet, the Maison de Verre translated as “House of Glass,” is a milestone in early modern architectural design. Built in 1932, the house uses various industrial and mechanical fixtures juxtaposed with a traditional style of home furnishings all under the transparency and lightness of the façade.  Unable to expel an elderly woman on the top floor, the house was engraved underneath an existing apartment. As such, the house uses skeleton frame steel construction allowing a free plan and the use of omnipresent lightweight materials, such as glass and glass block.  An interesting aspect of this house is the ubiquitous mechanical fixtures. On the ground floor was a medical suite for Dr. Jean Dalsace. This unusual circulation arrangement was resolved by a rotating screen which hid the private stairs from patients during the day, but framed the stairs at night. Other mechanical components include an overhead trolley from the kitchen to dining room, a retracting stair from the private sitting room to a bedroom, and complex bathroom cupboards and fittings.  Spatial division inside is customizable by the use of sliding, folding, and rotating screens in glass, sheet or perforated metal.  The honesty of materials, variable transparency of forms, and the juxtaposition of “industrial” materials and traditional home décor makes Maison de Verre a landmark in 20th century architecture.

To visit, you must be in the field of architecture or a related field. You must also reserve 3-4 months in advance for individuals and 5-6 months in advance for groups by emailing mdv31@orange.fr. Be sure to state the purpose of your tour. The tours only occur on Thursdays and a maximum of ten people are allowed per visit. The cost is 40 euros per person, 20 euros for students and professors of architecture. It might sound steep, but it’s well worth it for an insightful hour and a half visit of such a renown and private home.

How to Get There:
Pierre Chareau Maison de Verre Address
31,  rue Saint-Guillaume ,  7th Arrondisement
Metro:  M4 to Saint-Sulpice or St. Germain-des-Prés, M10/M12 to Sevres-Babylone, M12 to Rue du Bac


Pierre Chareau - Maison de Verre from Not Made TV on Vimeo.