Maison de Verre // Paris // 1928
Much of the intricate moving scenery of the house was designed on site as the project developed. The external form is defined by translucent glass block walls, with select areas of clear glazing for transparency. Internally, spatial division is variable by the use of sliding, folding or rotating screens in glass, sheet or perforated metal, or in combination. Other mechanical components included an overhead trolley from the kitchen to dining room, a retracting stair from the private sitting room to Mme Dalsace's bedroom and complex bathroom cupboards and fittings.
The program of the home was somewhat unusual in that it included a ground-floor medical suite for Dr. Jean Dalsace. This variable circulation pattern was provided for by a rotating screen which hid the private stairs from patients during the day, but framed the stairs at night.
The house is notable for its splendid architecture, but it may be more well known for another reason. It was built on the site of a much older building which the patron had purchased and intended to demolish. Much to his or her chagrin, however, the elderly tenant on the top floor of the building absolutely refused to sell, and so the patron was obliged to completely demolish the bottom three floors of the building and construct the Maison de Verre underneath, all without disturbing the original top floor.