Marcel Breuer's Villa Sayer

Here's a project which offers some fascinating insight into problems of environmental control in modern architecture.

Marcel Breuer's Villa Sayer (Normandy, 1972-1974) is currently featured in an exhibit at the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris.  It's a house built with a concrete hyperbolic parabaloid roof.  During the design process, Breuer made extensive notes questioning the design problems related to heating and cooling:

There is a persistent notion that Modernists like Breuer were insensitive to issues of thermal comfort.  This is clear counter-evidence: an inquisitive effort to create a 'well-tempered environment'.  Yet it is also telling that Breuer asks his designers "Is this house air-conditioned?" at a relatively advanced stage in the process.  An architect sensitive to energy use would certainly know the answer.  (Energy use was not a concern to architects generally at this time.)

Here's a link to the page about the Villa Sayer at the Cité de l'Architecture.  Also more here.

The Cité de l'Architecture seems to have a strong interest in these issues.  Last summer I wrote about their display on

Related: Straight from the Desk of Marcel Breuer, at Dwell.com