Day 118/365 of Steel – Pierre Chareau

Pierre Chareau (born 4th of august 1883)

Maison De Verre
Fig 1: Maison De Verre
© François Halard

Known for his collaboration on the legendary Maison de Verre, French architect, and interior designer Pierre Chareau is a celebrated artist cited by Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, and more as a major influence on their work. The visionary designer brought modernity into interior decoration by his pioneering use of wood, glass and steel. By the mid 1920’s he had joined the prestigious Société des Artistes Décorateurs and, in 1929, he co-founded the “Union des Artistes Modernes”. The great breakthrough came upon completion of the legendary “Glass House” that brought him worldwide fame.  

Maison de Verre (1932)

Created in collaboration with Bernard Bijvoet and Louis Dalbet, the façade was made of a wall of translucent glass while interiors could be continuously modified thanks to sliding and rotating screens in glass, sheet metal, and perforated metal.

Maison De Verre Interior
Fig 3: Maison De Verre Interior
© Mark Lyon

To make the spaces even more fluid, an overhead trolley runs from the kitchen to the dining room and a retractable latter connects the living area to the bedroom above. A steel grid supports the glass blocks mainly from the base, creating panels of 4 or 6 elements and using them according to the construction needs, and giving solidity to the areas where doors or windows were placed on the two facades.

Maison De Verre Interior
Fig 4: Maison De Verre Interior
 © Francois Halard via Yellowtrace.

This structural framework was made with vertical uprights formed by two 30×15 mm U profiles welded to a 100×9 mm flat steel sheet designed to stiffen the facade. Two other horizontal U-sections identical to the first complete the frame that supports the glass blocks. The result is a true masterpiece in glass and steel, which continues to enchant visitors with its modernity today. Arguably one of the most influential works of modern architecture, the « House of Glass » stands as the most innovative example of Chareau’s genius.

Maison De Verre Interior
Fig 5: Maison De Verre Interior
© François Halard
Fig 6: Maison De Verre Interior
© Estate of Evelyn Hofer / Andreas Pauly

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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