Maison De Verre, Paris, France

02 December 2013 . Tags: ,

Designed by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet and built in 1932, the Maison de Verre or “House of Glass,” is considered a landmark in 20th century architecture. The owner, Dr Jean Dalsace, was a member of the French Communist Party who played a significant role in both anti-fascist and cultural affairs. In the mid-1930s, the Maison de Verre’s double-height “salle de séjour” was transformed into a salon regularly frequented by Marxist intellectuals like Walter Benjamin as well as by surrealist poets and artists such as Lousi Aragon, Paul Eluard, jean Cocteau, Joan Miro and Max Jacob.

























Photo: Mark Lyon


Constructed in the early modern style of architecture, the house’s design emphasize three primary traits: honesty of materials, variable transparency of forms, and juxtaposition of “industrial” materials and fixtures with a more traditional style. The primary materials used were steel, glass and glass block. Some of the notable “industrial” elements included rubberised floor tiles, bare steel beams, perforated metal sheet, heavy industrial light fixtures, and mechanical fixtures. 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 lightweight materials.


The layout of the home was somewhat unusual in that it included a ground-floor medical suite for Dr.  Dalsace.  A  rotating screen 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.
































Photo by rucativava –


Spatial division inside is customisable by the use of sliding, folding, and rotating screens in glass, sheet or perforated metal.


























Photo by rucativava –


Maison de Verre belonged to the Dalsace family until 2006.  American architectural historian Robert Rubin bought the house from Dalsace family in 2006 to restore it and use it for his family residence. He allows a limited number of tours to the house.  MHM has been lucky enough to visit the property and we are happy to share with you the secret of how you can too.


-You must be a student or professional working in architecture or a related field.

-If you’re eligible, send a letter describing your interest and your qualifications to to reserve a tour.

-If you plan on visiting the Maison by yourself, reserve your tour 3 to 4 months in advance. If you’re visiting as part of a group, you’ll need reserve your tour 5-6 months in advance. Groups cannot exceed 10 people.


Tours last for an hour and a half and are scheduled for Thursdays at 2 and 3:30 p.m. only, and there are no tours during the month of August. Tickets cost 40 euros per person and 20 euros for students and professors of architecture.


It is well worth the effort!

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