Visiting The Maison De Verre In Paris

Image credit Todd Eberle

After a visit to the Maison De Verre in Paris, I called it a green model for our times, being an urban, live/work, healthy redevelopment that was a demonstration of industrial materials and technologies. But it is also one of the most important and beautiful houses of the 20th century.

The owner, investor turned academic Robert Rubin, was away at the time of my visit, but Alastair Gordon, (author of Spaced Out) interviewed him about the Maison de Verre, and his unusual approach to restoration, for the Wall Street Journal.
Robert Rubin. Image Credit Todd Eberle

Rubin developed his approach to restoration while fixing up exotic cars.

"One of the things I learned from restoring vintage cars is that if you clean up something too much it undermines the overall effect--the gestalt--of the object." (In the early '80s Rubin felt that a vintage Ferrari he purchased had been "over-restored," so he leased an old icehouse in Southampton and began supervising the restoration and maintenance of the cars himself.) "You make a distinction between dirt and patina," he says. "If you take off the patina you might as well rebuild the whole thing from scratch."

He is careful to preserve "the rust and tarnish and dings." It works; you feel the house's age. Read the whole article by Alastair Gordon and see the Slideshow.

More on the Maison de Verre:
The Maison De Verre: A Model For Our Times?
More on Robert Rubin in TreeHugger:
Chareau House
Tropical House at the Hammer Museum
Prefab Now- the Tropical House Reconstructed
Tropical House

More on Alastair Gordon

Book Review: Spaced Out by Alastair Gordon
Architectural Lessons from the 60s Counterculture

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