The house of glass – la maison de vèrre – by French designer and architect Pierre Chareau in St Germain de Prés in 1920s Paris.
To find out more about this house and about the life of the people in it in the 1920s – the family of dr Dalsace – check out this video.
What should have been a new building, turned into an extraordinary
work of transformation of the existing house because the previous tenant
refused to leave and the house could not be demolished. Neighbour
problem turned to opportunity.
The house is a recital of combinations between the classical and
modern: the programme of a tipycal Paris town-house but with the
requirement of being absolutely modern. Chareau creates prestigious
spaces by surprisingly using new industrial materials like metal girders,
glass brick fassades and steel mechanical openings and showcasing them for all to see.
On the other hand, unlike the restraint and
comrehensability of typical modernist architecture, Chareau argues that
the plastic effect of spaces is more important than its logic.
All the winding ways and mechanisms used to negociate the tight space
into a grand, modern yet practical house led a critic of the time to call it
Because of its design as a whole – from large scale to the smallest
details, its inventive mechanisms, and custom-made furniture – the
house remains an emblem of 20th century avant-garde.