the 1932 /Maison de Verre / by Joana Ferreira

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.