Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Photography by Francois Halard.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Photography by Francois Halard.

 

Maison de Verre, translating as ‘House of Glass’ saw a pivotal shift in how architecture responded to its time. Built in 1932, it was the collective brainchild of French Interior Architect Pierre Chareau, Dutch Architect Bernard Bijvoet and French metal craftsman Louis Dalbet fusing as one. Their vision was a combination of a progressive-thinking client, unusual site constraints and a want for a style that juxtaposed the expected. The time of industrialization surfaced numerous opportunities for the launch of a new, less decorative style. A style that would better listen and respond to a changing people and its time.

Commissioned by owners Dr Jean Dalsace and his wife Anne, the site was originally an 18th Century hotel, adjacent the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. Ornately and traditionally French in style, the team had other, much grander ideas. Due to a predictably stubborn elderly upstairs neighbor, the new owners had to maintain the upper floor and the structural skeleton that remained. Through purposely stripping the structural steel to its naked self, the bones of the famed illuminated box were conceived.

 

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison-de-Verre-Paris-by-Pierre-Chareau-Bernard-Bijvoet-Yellowtrace-04
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via La Maison de Verre blogspot.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via La Maison de Verre blogspot.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via The Daily Scan.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via La Maison de Verre blogspot.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via La Maison de Verre blogspot.

 

Comprising raw steel, clear and frosted glass and the (now) iconic use of industrial glass blocks, through the use of scale and repetition, there is a grandeur present. As the structure was already dictated by the remaining floor above, the forest of columns created opportunities to integrate mechanised walls, panels and systems that made multiples spaces transformable. The ground floor was occupied by Dr Jean Dalsace as a medical clinic, and the main stair was used as a privacy divider between the two functions of commerce and residential, and at night this framing helped create a feature of this vertical element.

The transforming abilities of this house, through use of materiality, light and transparency are what help define its identity. Moving in the opposite direction of expected ornate-ism and into a period of industrialisation and pragmatism was a driver for integrated elements. Elements like the mechanised trolley between the kitchen and dining room, the retracting stair, and rotating panels of glass and metal.

 

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace
Image via catview.

 

Further to the progressive nature of the building itself, during the 1930’s the double-height space referred to as the ‘salle de sejour’ was used as a salon for gatherings of creative and thinkers. Frequented by Marxist intellectuals like Walker Benjamin, surrealist painters and poets, this was a space that was pushing boundaries. Even if, ironically, within the confines of such a refined minimalist box. When the Nazi regime came to France, the Dalsaces had to flee and in 2006, the property was purchased and restored by American Collector, Robert Rubin. It is still in use as his current residence today.

Maison de Verre serves as an icon of its time, and reflects the potential limitless shifts of design and space when viewed through fresh untainted eyes. This glowing beacon of opportunity stands, literally alight, amongst its predecessors and shines as a symbol of possibility. Even today, this beautifully modern and minimal house is a true classic, imbued with countless design lessons. Through honesty in materiality, playing with light, integrating moving elements and opening up spaces and creating points of connectivity, this was architecture before its time.

 


[Images courtesy of Francois HalardLa Maison de Verre, catview & The Daily Scan.]

 

About The Author

Bronwyn Marshall
Contributor

Spawn from the peaceful pastures of Adelaide, Bronwyn is inspired by the undiscovered. With travel as her main muse and together with a belief that architecture and design can facilitate a better world, she currently finds herself living and working in NYC. An Architect and designer of over eight years, she thrives on interpreting other people’s passions into manifested realities. Listening to and seeing new worlds through her own lens has seen her work and study on an international scale; in Europe, Australia and currently, in the US. Influenced by minimalism in all its glory, in practice and everyday life, her obvious influencers are notably the Scandinavian and Japanese design greats. Her work spans residential, hospitality, retail, health, education and industrial portfolios and has a strong passion for Humanitarian work and the real possibilities of design thinking in the developing world. She thinks big and laterally, and open to musings from all directions. Naive or otherwise, she really does believe design can make a difference.

One Response

Leave a Reply