Maison Louis Carre

Maison Loius Carre, Paris - France, Alvar Aaalto
Construction year: 1959
Address: 2 Chemin du Saint-Sacrement, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne | PARIS | France | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 48.76988, 1.85427

In autumn 1957, the final plans of Maison Louis Carre were complete and the construction began. Elissa Aalto (1922-1994), the architect’s second wife, headed the project and spent long periods of time in France. Alvar Aalto also visited the site regularly. Marcel Roux Architects were in charge of the construction at the French end. Having participated in the designing process in Finland, the Swiss architect Marlaine Perrochet oversaw the construction on-site, the interior arrangements in particular.

Upon arrival at the entrance gate – designed by Aalto in white brick and copper – the house is not yet visible. Maison Louis Carre unveils itself gradually, through the trees in the park, after a bend in the path that leads up to the house. The exterior materials are carefully chosen since Carré wanted elegant materials that would age well: limestone from Chartres and lime-washed bricks for the walls, blue slate from Normandy for the big roof, wood slates – either teak or ash – to punctuate the openings in the facades, copper for the gutters, edges of the walls, lamps and outside pillars.

Maison Louis Carre is situated on the top of an area of 3 hectares, the building softly accommodates the slope. The ground floor centers on the entrance hall and can be divided into three main zones: the “public” area (hall, living room, library, dining room), the “private” area (a sauna and three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms), and the “service” area (kitchen, pantry, staff dining room). On the first floor, there are servant’s bedrooms and a linen room, and the basement includes a boiler room and a wine cellar. Compared to the Villa Mairea, the house is not very big (350 m2 on the ground floor, 90 m2 on the first floor), but it boasts remarkable qualities of space and organization.

The main entrance of Maison Louis Carre is situated on the north side of the building, the kitchen and the service areas on the east. The living room and the library face west with a view of the garden and the surrounding landscape; the bedrooms and the bathrooms face south. Each important room also has its own external space: the living room and the library open onto a terrace and the lawn, the bedrooms and the bathrooms onto private terraces sheltered by brick and wooden walls.

These terraces are invisible from the access path as well as from the rest of the garden, due to the perspective cut that the turf stairs create. This provides the occupant with complete privacy – one example of Aalto’s constant attention to the comfort of those who use his buildings.

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