Focus Work
Die 'Immeubles par Destination' als Wandersatz im Maison de Verre

Focus Work
Luzia Rohrer

In 1932, Pierre Chareau designed for the bedrooms of the Maison de Verre in Paris a closet that opened from two sides. This allowed servants to place the washed clothes in the closet directly from the corridor, without disturbing the lady of the house from her bedroom’s privacy. The closet functions as an interactive layer between the corridor and the bedrooms, combining the features of both furniture and wall. How did this specific solution come about? What possible goal was Pierre Chareau trying to achieve with it?

This focus work examines the Maison de Verre’s closet in relation to the Parisian milieu of the 1920s, which was characterized by social structures in transformation and by discourses committed to imagining a modern way of life. Based on this contextualization and on a spatial and material analysis, this work explains the uniqueness of Chareau’s closet as a combination of two factors: on one hand, its two-sidedness organized family life along the lines of 18th and 19th century bourgeois living; on the other, its metal construction and modular design echoed forward-looking modernism.

Moreover, with the help of a close reading of selected sources, this paper offers a critical discussion of the notions that have been historically used to theorize the closet as an “immeuble par destination” or as an “ensemble,” arguing that, through this two-sided partition, Chareau designed the effect of blurring spatial boundaries while providing the house also with a wall substitute.


Dr. Andreas Kalpakci