La Maison de Verre


The Maison de Verre (House of Glass) is a remarkable residence, constructed in Paris between 1927-1932. A prime example of early modern architecture or the International Style, its design by Pierre Chareau in collaboration with Bernard Bijvoet and Louis Dalbet was notable for its steel frame structure, glass block facade, sliding walls and unique use of materials, all of which were exposed. Furthermore, when the owner Dr. Dalsace purchased the old house on which La Maison de Verre was built, he intended to demolish it. The upper floor tenant would not oblige, forcing the Dalsace’s to have their residence built beneath the old building’s upper storey.

The Dalsace granddaughter, Dominique Vellay, has written a book, La Maison de Verre. Published by Thames & Hudson, it features over eighty full page photos taken by François Halard. Available since January in the U.K., it’s now available from and should appear on U.S. bookstore shelves within a couple of weeks.

The Maison de Verre (literally ‘House of Glass’) is a modernist masterpiece that almost nobody has ever seen. Here, for the first time, is its inside story.

In 1927 Annie and Jean Dalsace acquired an 18th-century town house in the centre of Paris and commissioned their friend, the architect and designer Pierre Chareau, to turn it into a modern dwelling – a very modern dwelling.

What he did was unprecedented. He replaced the walls with translucent glass bricks, installed remotely controlled windows, divided the interior by perforated metal screens that rotate or slide on curved rails, built balconies and open-topped staircases to help display the unique collection of furniture designed by the architect, some covered with tapestry by the artist Jean Lurçat, and works of art collected by the modern-spirited Annie Dalsace.

The text is by Dominique Vellay, granddaughter of the original clients, who has known the house since her childhood, and makes us experience it as if at first hand. The house is recorded by the internationally renowned photographer François Halard. The combination of personal reminiscence and spectacular images makes this a truly rare publishing event.

Dominique Vellay lives in Paris. She is a journalist and designer, and has created costumes for films. She is the granddaughter of Annie and Jean Dalsace, who commissioned the house, and later lived there herself.

François Halard is a photographer and creative artist who lives and works in New York. He regularly contributes to Vogue, Vanity Fair, House & Garden, The World of Interiors, and he has also published several books of photography.


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