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A family residence

Built between 1929 and 1932, the villa was the resuit of an order placed by Paul Cavrois with the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens to house his family of seven children and his domestic servants. Covered in yellow facing bricks set on a concrète frame and double red brick walls, the villa was thought out as a total work of art comprising an exemplary case of homogenous construction between architecture, décoration and furniture. It is the architect's technical and aesthetic manifesto in terms of the care given to its materials and equipment.

A sorry fate

The villa was occupied by German troops between 1940 and 1944. It was damaged at the end of the war. When he returned in 1947, Paul Cavrois called upon architect Pierre Barbe to add two apartments for his elder sons.The family lived in the villa until 1985. The following year, it was sold to a real estate firm that wanted to subdivide the park. Despite its automatic classification as a historic monument in 1990, the villa was no longer maintained by its owner, who abandoned it to looters.The State bought the property, which was in serious danger, in 2001, and entrusted it to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux on 31 December 2008.


Restoration

Starting in 2003, the State undertook a major restoration project for the villa in several phases, including reinforcement to the structures, restoration of the walls and roof, the garden, and the inside areas. The restoration work sought to return the villa to its original historic condition as when it was inaugurated in l932. The initial volume of the rooms and decors were returned to their original state thanks to old photographs and archaeological traces of the building. The lighting, the furnishings attached to the decorations, as well as the bookcases and benches have all been restored using the original materials. The parquet floorings, metal doorframes and marbles have been restored or returned. The restoration of the park has returned it to the original land's very subtle gradient with the precise layout of the alleyways, while replanting plant species identified from old photographs. The reflecting pool, which had been filled in during the war, and the swimming pool have been restored to their original state. The restoration was carried out by the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles du Nord-Pas-de-Calais and then by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux between 2009 and 2015. Since 2012, the villa has been part of a Worldwide conservation programme for emblematic houses of the 20th century," lconic Houses ".


Robert Mallet-Stevens (1886-1945)

An architect born in Paris to a family of Belgian origin, he was influenced by the work of the Viennese architect Josef Hoffman, designer of the Stoclet Palace in Brussels. He was interested in the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Bauhaus movement in Germany, and worked with the artists of the Dutch De Stijl movement. In 1929 he took part in the création of the review L'Architecture d'aujourd'hui and the Union des artistes modernes (Union of Modem Artists) for which he was named président. He was the author of emblematic buildings such as the Villa Noailles in Hyères (1923-1933) and the private houses located on the Paris street bearing his name (1927-1930), but also of industrial buildings, garages, shops and exhibition halls. Between 1922 and 1928, he produced sets for some ten films including L'inhumaine by Marcel L'Herbier. All his productions sought geometrical precision in their shapes, a simplicity in their volumes and a functionality in their spaces. He was appointed director of the École des Beaux-Arts in Lille in 1935. At his request, all his archives were destroyed upon his death.

The context behind the order


Paul Cavrois placed an order for a first house project with Jacques Gréber in 1925, but the project was never finalised. He then turned to Robert Mallet-Stevens. He wanted a large, modem house located on land in the town of Croix in what at the time was a country setting in Beaumont. He thus demonstrated his desire to stand out from the traditional buildings of the region by calling upon an architect who had recently made a sensation at the International Exposition of Decorative Arts of 1925. The first plans were drawn up in 1929. The following year, Mallet-Stevens brought Paul Cavrois and his son, Jean, to Holland to see the Town Hall in Hilversum, designed by Willem Dudok (1884-1974). Paul Cavrois authorized him to work in the modemist, geometric spirit of the building and accepted that the façades should be covered with yellow bricks specially produced for the villa. Work began in June of 1930. Mr and Mrs Cavrois inaugurated their home on 6 July 1932, for their daughter Geneviève's wedding.

The Cavrois family

Paul Cavrois (1890-1965) came from the industrial bourgeoisie of Roubaix and owned two spinning opérations and dye-works. In 1919, he married Lucie Vanoutryve (1891-1985), his brother Jean's widow. Jean had died during the war in 1915. They had four children together, expanding the family which already included three children from Lucie's first marriage to Jean Cavrois.


Visitor information

Guided tours during the week
Gift and book shop
The guide for this monument can be found in the Itinéraires collection and is available in 2 languages in the gift and book shop.