Maison Louis Carré has been a private home designed by the architects Elissa and Alvar Aalto, completed in 1959.
The house is located at the top of its site, an hours' drive from Paris.
The client, Luois Carré, of Brittany origin, was a lawyer, an art dealer and - from that time - a lifetime friend of Aalto. The friendship began thanks to Jean Monnet, one of the fathers of the European Union, who convinced Carré to buy land in the Bazoches area. Then Carré choose Aalto (instead of Le Corbusier) as his architect to build a residence in the outskirts of Paris. Louis Carrè had heard good things about Aalto in the circles of his friend art gallery owners. They met for the first time at the Venice Biennale of 1956 and that was the beginning of a long friendship. During the summer Carré went to Finland where he viewed some of Aalto's architecture (especially the beautiful Villa Mairea, I guess), after which Elissa and Alvar went to France to visit the site for the first time.
The request of Carré was to have a house that could accommodate many guests for viewing the artworks. A sort of 'home of art'.
Elissa and Aalto designed every element, actually, from the garden to the furnishings, exteriors and interiors, including the lighting fixtures, the handles and everything. And the special part of it all is that all of these objects have fundamentally remained there since they were designed and produced by the architects.
The external facades are covered with the same stone used in Chartres cathedral, in addition, copper, wood and white bricks are used to complete the exteriors.
The large living room is designed as a space for setting up small exhibitions.
The main gesture of the project is the curved ceiling, an organic shape tha is almost a signature of the Aalto's style (you can take his famous glass vases as an example, or the curved wood technique, used for many of its furnishings), which follows the path that leads from the entrance to the living room, through a large staircase that takes up the slope of the ceiling.
Aalto was well aware of what it meant to make a house in which the private part was mixed with more public spaces, since his own architectural studio took place in his private residence in Helsinki.
The house was inhabited by Louis Carré and his family, until his death in 1977, a few months after that of Alvar Aalto.
The building is protected by French heritage law since 1996.
Link to the 3D model. It's a public model, feel free to upgrade it and enjoy it.
Maison Louis Carré official website
Alvar Aalto Foundation