Recording the Absent Inside the Maison de Verre
Keywords:Spatial analysis, Interior architecture, Spatial design
The Maison de Verre (Pierre Chareau) was completed in Paris in 1932 for Dr Jean Dalsace, his wife Annie and their two young children. The front façade, a skin of glass, conceals a family home and a gynaecology clinic. Information on the building’s 1930s inhabitation is missing leaving an archival gap.
Proposition: In 1933 there were two visitors. He attended the weekly Salon gathering. She secretly visited the clinic. They were lovers, the artist Marcel Duchamp and bookbinder Mary Reynolds. Duchamp’s artwork, the Large Glass (1915–23), suggests a glass premonition to their interactions.
The writing or drawing out of a story of possible inhabitation is, in the end, the potential of architecture. In this account, I reconstruct the Maison de Verre’s interior as a history through modes of text and drawing that combine spatial analysis with imagined occupation. New plan drawings with theoretical and fictional text combine images, routes, passages. In the first part, ‘The Glass Look’, the building seems to survey the salon visitor (Marcel), as instances caught in glass. ‘Regarding’ positions Annie Dalsace’s mediating presence, traced into her ambiguous circulations around the upper floors. In the third part, ‘Dust’, I speculate on Mary’s visit. Searching the building as if its housekeeper, I find little to suggest she was there, just the uncertainty of dust particles. In ‘Horizontal Passages’ I follow Mary’s imagined route through the ground floor clinic and trace her body through its remainders, dust particles and smears.
How to Cite
Author/s and or their institutions retain copyright ownership in the works submitted to the IDEA Journal, and provide the IDEA Journal of the Interior Design Interior Architecture Educators Association with a non–exclusive license to use the work for the purposes listed below:
- Made available/published electronically on the IDEA JOURNAL website
- Published as part of the IDEA JOURNAL online open access publication
- Stored in the electronic database, website, CD/DVD, which comprises post publication articles to be used for publishing of the Interior Design Interior Architecture Educators Association.
Reproduction is prohibited without written permission of the publisher, the authors or their nominated university. The work submitted for review should not have been published or be in the process of being reviewed by another publisher. Authors should ensure that any images used on the paper have copyright clearance.