1

0

 

2

2

 

0

9

 

 

A

R

C

H

I

T

E

C

T

U

R

E

 

 

1

0

 

2

2

 

0

9

 

 

 

 

 

   

Photo by François Hallard for La Maison de Verre
Dominique Vellay, Thames & Hudson

 

 


 

       

Glassed In! 

 
 

La Maison de Verre, Paris

   

 

  

Long before Pei's glass pyramid in the Louvre, there was another house of glass in Paris.  The Maison de Verre (lit. House of Glass), a modernist icon built in the late 1920s by Pierre Chareau, has an important symbolic role in the history of architecture.  It is, in fact, the house as cult object.  It's strength is its poetry -- the vocabulary of transparency and contrast, the early use of steel and glass, the industrial feel of exposed beams and rubberized floor tiles, and the very idea of revelation -- of structure, of glass façade like some translucent veil that lets all that glorious light in.  Heavy metal fixtures and glass block transformed into functional lyricism.  The structure is literally inserted into an old 18th century building…model perhaps for New York City where so little construction is new and where the idea of a home/work space has so rarely been articulated this brilliantly.  There is the famous double height grand salon with marvelous high metal bookshelf, light filtering in through expanse of glass, and where the only views to the outside are to the back garden. 

  

 

 

 

Pierre Chareau is far better known for his furniture and interior design -- this is the only house of his which survives.  Built for Dr. Dalsace, who bought an old 18th century hôtel particulier but was unable to procure the top apartment, this modernist construction was integrated into the antique structure with the old apartment above.  There is spatial play with forms that interlock and overlap, the 2 floors of living quarters appearing suspended above the workspace below.  Worked metal screens which rotate separate the house above from what was originally the doctor's office below.  At night, seen from inside the courtyard, the house glows like some lovely translucent lamp, the direction of light through the glass now beautifully reversed....

 

 

Photo by François Hallard for La Maison de Verre, Dominique Vellay, Thames & Hudson

 

Dominique Vellay calls the Maison de Verre a "touchstone for architects throughout the world, notably Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Glenn Murcutt and I.M.Pei, and in many of its elements is a model, indeed an exemplum...."  and perhaps one sees traces of this house in all those Parisian icons: in Pei's pyramid in the Louvre, in Rogers' Pompidou Centre, in the facade of Nouvel's Institut du Monde Arabe, which eCognoscente wrote about earlier....  So here's to houses of glass, to transparency, and to light....

 

 

Read: La Maison de Verre, Dominique Vellay 

 

Read: The Best House in Paris, nytimes.com 

 

Read: Institut du Monde Arabe, eCognoscente 

 

Tags: paris

 

Permalink   Save to del.icio.us    Digg This!


 


 

 


BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK!

 

 

 

     

Subscribe About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Editorial Policy  

Unsubscribe  Press Archives Search

 

 

 

©2009 eCognoscente