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Living in a Glass House: Chareau's Maison de verre in the twenty-first century

Lecturer: Rubin, R
Publisher: Delft University of Technology
Keywords: Robert Rubin · The Berlage Lezingen
Rights: (c) Delft University of Technology · Creative Commons BY


Maison de Verre, Paris, France, 1928-1932; 2006-2007
This canonical example of modern architecture was originally designed as both a private residence and medical clinic. Constructed primarily of steel and glass, the building's exterior is defined by translucent glass block walls along with select areas of transparent glazing. The interior spatial division is variable according to the use of sliding, folding or rotating screens constructed in glass, sheet or perforated metal, or in combination. The house was occupied by the original clients, the Dalsace/Bernheim/Vellay family, until around 1970, then sporadically by family members for another decade. In 2006 the house was sold to Robert Rubin and Stéphane Samuel, who commenced the process of restoring the building in order to live and work in it as a family.

Robert Rubin is a former Wall Street commodities trader, architectural historian, and the owner of the Maison de Verre, one of the great landmarks of twentieth-century Modernism. More than just preserving, in keeping with all his restorations, Rubin ensures that the Paris Maison is preserved, in all its details and idiosyncratic spaces. Rubin, who studied architectural history on a doctoral level at Columbia University, is an avid collector and is precise in his habitation and documentation of the landmark building.

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