Eileen Gray Models in the Irish Architectural Archive

A collection of models of architectural projects by Eileen Gray donated to the Irish Architecture Foundation by Caroline Constant in memory of Kevin Kieran are now on display in the hall of No. 45 Merrion Sqaure.

Born in the family home of Brownswood, Co. Wexford in 1878, Eileen Gray (née Kathleen Eileen Moray) settled in Paris in 1906. Informally educated and largely self-taught, she emerged in the 1910s and 1920s as a lacquerwork, furniture and carpet designer of note. Her first venture into architecture was her design for her decorating shop Jean Desert which she opened in Paris in 1922. In all, forty-five of her architectural projects are recorded, of which nine were executed. Her most famous building, E.1027, – the holiday home she designed at Roquebrune/Cap-Martin for Jean Badovici – was a favourite haunt of Le Corbusier. She counted Walter Gropius, J.J.P. Oud, José Luis Sert and Frederick Kiesler amongst her friends and acquaintances. Her final project, Lou Pérou, a house near St. Tropez, was completed in 1961. Although she lived on until 1976 her reputation gradually faded as her buildings were attributed to others or dismissed as derivative. More recently however she has emerged from the shadows of her male contemporaries to be recognised as a designer and architect of independence and distinction. It has been said of her architecture that it is not simply one approach to the structural, aesthetic and visual ideas of the Modern Movement but is in fact an extensive critique of the Movement itself.

The models of Eileen Gray’s works now housed in the Irish Architectural Archive were made in 1993-94 for Professor Caroline Constant, author and expert on the work of Eileen Gray, by students at the University of Florida and Harvard University. They have featured in a number of exhibitions on Gray’s work in Harvard, New York, Frankfurt and, most recently, London, and have appeared in a number of publications devoted to Gray and her work.

The Irish Architectural Archive acknowledges the support provided for its exhibitions programme by Michael McNamara & Co., Pierse Contracting Ltd. and John Sisk and Son Ltd.

Cultural and Social Centre
Client: Hypothetical
Site: Hypothetical
Model: David Fischer, Michael Proteau, Mary Strain, University of Florida

Client: Jean Badovici
Site: Roquebrune/Cap Martin (Alpes-Maritimes), France.
Model: Steven Belflower and Todd McDowell, University of Florida

Tempe à Pailla,
Client: Eileen Gray
Site: 187 rue Castelland, Castellar, (Alpes-Maritimes), France.
Model: Caroline Ueberschaer, Steven Belflower and Todd McDowell, University of Florida

Seaside Vacation House
Early 1940s?
Client: Jean Bavodici?
Site: Casablanca, Morocco?
Model: Erik Kasper, University of Florida

Lou Pérou
Client: Eileen Gray
Site: Chapell-Ste-Anne, St. Tropez (Provence), France.
Model: Michael Proteau, University of Florida

House for an Engineer
Client: Hypothetical
Site: Hypothetical
Model: Elizabeth Libby Palmer, Harvard University

Badovici Apartment
Client: Jean Badovici
Site: 7 rue Chateaubriand, Paris.
Model: Bruce Cianci, University of Florida

Camping Tent
Client: Hypothetical
Site: Un-sited demountable structure
Model: Matt Ragsdale, University of Florida

Ellipse House
Client: Hypothetical
Site: Un-sited demountable structure
Model: Matt Ragsdale, University of Florida