SAH in Paris: Glass, Light & Structure

SAH in Paris: Glass, Light and Structure
SAH in Paris: Glass, Light and Structure
A Two-Day Fundraiser Organized by the Society of Architectural Historians
Led by Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University
Dates: May 17–18, 2018
Pricing: $2,895 per person (includes $2,000 tax-deductible donation to SAH)
Capacity: Limited to 25 participants (open to the public)


The Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to present a two-day fundraiser offering special access to iconic landmarks from the 19th to 21st centuries in Paris and the region. Enjoy 48 hours touring in and around Paris, Lille, and Lens with SAH Past President Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University and the former Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art.

In addition to celebrating uniquely French innovations in glass, light, and structure in residences by Le Corbusier and libraries by Labrouste, the event will culminate with cocktails at sunset and dinner at dusk in the magnificent Maison de Verre, the iconic 1932 glass house designed by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijovet.

The event, open to all who share an interest in architecture, is designed as a fundraiser to benefit SAH’s ongoing educational mission and its print Buildings of the United States (BUS) and digital SAH Archipedia publishing projects. Your tax-deductible contribution will help raise funds for these award-winning print and online publications that aim to document and interpret the entirety of American architecture and public spaces.

Attendees will travel to Paris independently and stay in the accommodations of their choosing. 


The first day will concentrate on modern residential architecture. We will begin our journey at the Le Corbusier Foundation in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. There we will walk in and around a variety of the architect’s internationally influential residential designs including Maison LaRoche/Jeanneret. Barry Bergdoll, a noted expert on the work of Corbusier, will provide a historical context for the residential designs and discuss their lasting importance. We will then walk down Rue Mallet-Stevens, named for architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, the location of five of his finest villas. Finally, we’ll visit the rue Nungesser et Coli studio, a later Le Corbusier building and, if the renovation is complete, we'll tour studio space on the top floor, which is owned by the Corbusier Foundation. 

Our group then will board a private motor coach to Lille and we will eat lunch en route. Once in Lille we will tour Robert Mallet-Stevens’ Villa Cavrois, which is described as “the most emblematic achievement of architect Mallet-Stevens.” The Villa, built between 1929 and 1932 for Paul Cavrois, a textile manufacturer and his family, underwent a major restoration between 2008 and 2015 and recently reopened to the public.

We will then travel to the Louvre Lens, designed by the Japanese architectural firm SAANA, on the site of a former mine yard that closed in 1960. The Louvre Lens and Louvre Abu Dhabi, which have constantly changing exhibitions drawn from the main collection in Paris, have been developed to share the vast French art collection with regional and international audiences.

We will then return to Paris for a group dinner at the Art Nouveau/Art Deco Terminus Nord restaurant, dubbed “the most animated of the great Parisian brasseries."


On the second day, our group will enjoy access to four internationally acclaimed Parisian buildings known for combining exquisite design with engineering feats.

The first stop will be Henri Labrouste’s 1845-1851 Bibliotheque Ste. Genevieve where Bergdoll will discuss its history and significance as we tour the exterior and the library’s magnificent reading room. Bergdoll, with author Neil Levine produced Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light, the MoMA catalog that accompanied the first exhibition in the United States devoted to the work of Labrouste.

We then will tour the Neoclassical Pantheon Paris, modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, and its three intricate domes. Originally a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, the building has served as a mausoleum since the French Revolution, housing French writers, poets and scientists. The architect, Jacques-Germain Soufflot, originally intended to combine the Gothic style with a Classical structure, but the final building is considered one of the first great Neoclassical structures in France.

Before lunch in a nearby passage, our group will tour the other of Labrouste’s great reading rooms, in the Bibliotheque Nationale Richelieu. It, along with the Bibliotheque Ste. Genevieve, gave form to the concept of the modern public library and was an “exploration of new paradigms of space, materials, and luminosity in places of great public assembly,” quoted from Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light.

The final destination that our group will experience is Maison de Verre, the 1932 glass house designed by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet. Bergdoll and others will discuss the recent restoration of the house by the current owner. After taking an in-depth tour through the house, we will have cocktails in the library and dinner in the living room where we'll experience the dramatic changes in interior light moving from sunset to dusk to night.


This fundraising event is priced at $2,895 per person, which includes a $2,000 tax-deductible gift to the Society of Architectural Historians. Limited to 25 participants.

  • Two days of commentary led by Barry Bergdoll
  • Two lunches
  • One cocktail party
  • Two dinners
  • Motor coach to Lille, Lens, and back to Paris
  • Illustrated tour notes
  • Admission fees when required
  • Originating flight from participant's home to Paris
  • Airport transfers
  • Housing
  • Breakfast on each day
  • Transportation to each day’s starting point from housing
  • Transportation from each day’s ending point to housing
  • Departing flight from Paris to participant's home
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Cancellations received on or before February 15, 2018, will incur a $500 non-refundable cancellation fee. No refunds will be given on or after February 16, 2018.


Maison LaRoche-Jeanneret (1923-25) by Le Corbusier. Credit: Fbrun via Wikimedia Commons

Villa Cavrois (1929-32) by Robert Mallet-Stevens. Credit: Elladan~commonswiki via Wikimedia Commons

Reading room of the Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve (1845-51). Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikimedia Commons.

Maison de Verre
Maison de Verre (1932) by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet.
SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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Chicago, Illinois 60610
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