la maison de verre :: Unfolding the Privacy

  • 1 X-RAY
  • The external form is defined by translucent glass block walls, with select areas of clear glazing for tranparency. Internally, spatial division is variable by the use of sliding, folding or rotating screens in glass, sheet or perforated metal, or in combination. 
    Other mechanical components included an overhead trolley from the kitchen to dining room, a retracting stair from the private sitting room to Mme. Dalsace’s bedroom and complex bathroom cupboards and fittings.
    The program of the home was somewhat unusual in that it included a ground-floor medical suite for Dr. Jean Dalsace. This variable circulation pattern was provided for by a rotating screen which hid the private stairs from patients during the day, but framed the stairs at night.
    The axonometric drawing was created in diffrent scales, 3/16, 1/8, 1/4. The final assembled drawing on this page is 1/4 and the exploded on the next page is 1/8. Trough different scale of the drawing , I found the space was emerging when I change the scale and feel into the space.

  • The exploded method is based on study of space components inside la mason de verre. Different woods shows either circulation or the space. The shadow of the model reveal different height of space, double deck or single. This practice helps me understanding the boundary of paticular space, leading me to think about the operation of unfolding.


  • The image is a collage of “flow of privacy”. You read from outside to inside, from plan to section, from privacy to public, from the house as an entity to a result as unfolding privacy. The round circle with in a square symblizes a glass bolck of la maison de verre. You look through a piece of glass that provide privacy, you see a distorted, unfolded space.
  • Based on the digital model, I started to use parametric tool to see the possibilities of breaking the boundaries of the house. I imagined that hinges existed in everywhere and every parts rotate in a sequence and with the same edge of its boundary box. This emergent practice informs new entrance to the building, new orientation of the book cases that create privacy in a particular direction, new sub major space elevation and feeling, new rotated or twisted glass wall. Based on this study I started to understand the operation of unfolding.

  • La Maison de Verre was constructed in the early modern style of architecture, whose design emphasized primary traits: honesty of materials, variable transparency of forms, a variety ways of providing privacy for its users. The primary materials used were steel, glass, and glass block. The operation emphasize the material and privacy.
    The operation, or the gesture  of “unfolding”, comes from the mechanical hinges of doors that could inform different possible combination of space. The operation focuses on these two particular spaces, since there are two major double deck spaces, looking the components that provide privacy in different ways.
    Mostly, the house use furniture such as bookcases and translucent parts to inform private space, in stead of a wall.

  • The operation starts from pull two parts or the building away, which could reveal the section, library space, etc. The level gap and different type of strategy is also the reason for separation. Then the glass block walls get unfolded out. For the furniture and smaller parts of the building, they are folded to the direction of the space critically. 
    The operation helps to read particular part of the building is providing privacy to certain space and even they are in different levels of house.

  • unfold
    1. To open and spread out (something folded); extend.
    2. To remove the coverings from; disclose to view.
    3. To reveal gradually by written or spoken explanation; make known.
    a. To become spread out; open out.
    b. To develop, as if by spreading out.
    5. To be revealed gradually to the understanding.

  • 2/3 floor plan
  • 1 floor plan