Day 328/365 of Steel – Paul Amaury Michel

Paul-Amaury Michel and his Glass House.

The ‘Maison de Verre’ is a modernist building designed by the architect Paul-Amaury Michel (b. February 22, 1912- d. March 2, 1988) in Uccle, a suburb of Brussels. This iconic residence is an absolutely avant-garde example of modernist architecture from the interwar period and one of the finest examples of the use of glass and steel in Belgium.

Belgium - Brussels - Maison de Verre
Fig 1: Belgium – Brussels – Maison de Verre
Photo: EmDee

At the beginning of the twentieth century, people began to dream of a glass house, with light as the ultimate luxury. Mies van der Rohe designed the wonderful and luminous German pavilion at the Barcelona Expo in 1929.

Pierre Chareau created his “glass house” in Paris in 1931. It was in this context that a very young architect, Paul-Amaury Michel, decided to create his first work, his own house, following the principle of the “glass house”.  

Belgium - Brussels - Maison de Verre
Fig 2: Belgium – Brussels – Maison de Verre
Photo: EmDee

However, if Michel’s “Maison de Verre” took over from Chareau’s house the principle of a façade made of glass slabs, it is also an embodiment of the doctrinal elements of the modernist movement, as formulated by Le Corbusier in 1926 in his “Five points of a new architecture”, namely pilotis, free design of the ground plan, free design of the façade, the horizontal window and roof gardens.

Over time, the house had fallen into near ruin until the new owner undertook to have the building listed and then superbly restored by architects Bernard Baines and Christian Gilot. It was in such a bad state that only the structure was kept and the various elements were restored to their original state.

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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