Maison Bulle Minzier



Living in the large metropolis of the city landscapes, we are often greeted by very similar and recurring facets designed to create consistency and commonalities within the framework of urban development. However, this also means that architectural gems can be considered rarities and are most often undermined by the clean glass and steel towers which have become the icons of today's modern world.


The concept of bubble house was developed from the 1960s consisting of 'a veil of concrete reinforced without shuttering'. The process was developed by Claude Costy and continued with various self-builders in Europe. It plays into the avant-garde nature of organic architecture, or ovoid dewellings that evoke biological organs rather than the rigid geometric traditional constructions of today.


Maison Bulle Minzier was built in 1968 by Claude Costy herself and Pascal Hausermann, the design duo, who followed in the footsteps of Frank Llloyd's ideas. It's clear that her background in sculpture was the precursor in defining her entry into the architecture world, using natural and organic forms which seek harmony with its habitat and the natural environment around it. Unlike the increasingly imposing architecture of the concrete jungles, her designs form a connection with nature itself, listening and borrowing its form from its details. Rounded shapes and curving geo-metrics mirror the natural rock formations and the smooth forms caused by natural erosion from wind and waters, the very tool used to shape the world.


There is also a sense of amoebic growth, which have a certain element of futurism, and fusing an intergalatic essence with the roots of our natural state. Taking into account the various ways in which natural tunnels are created by insects or mimicry of the roots of trees and the formation of stalagmites, it works as if sculpting out the concrete. In many ways it could be attributed to the 'lost framework' process where the concrete is laid by hand in chicken wire mesh and fastened directly to reinforcements, where it stays trapped, drying in place rather than within the standard wooden formwork. Through this, the home expands cell after cell, stone after stone around its skeleton, just like a living body. Not just the exterior of the architecture but the design also highlights the fittings and furnishings; such as a rotating door with integrated seating which create an altogether unified composition and makes it a part of the nature around it.


Despite its biomorphic, sculptural ideals and reduced costs all contribute to its sustainability, obtaining building permits often prevent its spread across the world. Although it has been described as 'new naturalness' or 'new baroqueism', even her ambtion of constructing an entire residential complex to construct a humanistic fantasy was soon stopped by administration restriction though the remaining buildings still stand as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.


I find that these designs provide a new perspective on how we can change our interaction with the natural environments around us. It provides a message that drastically influence the perception of the reality we face and an alternative way of living that focuses on interdependence. In many ways we see, the artistic and ideological legacy, as it play its part in the surrounding forest and as the foreground to the mountains and valleys around. Her home as an icon of personal space and manifesto, slanting arches, vaults, and spiral staircases. And in one of her little chambers houses her studio where she continues with her ceramic work today.