Maison Tropicale, or the Tropical House was the ultimate employment of Jean Prouve’s vision. It incorporated features designed particularly for tropical climate in aluminum and steel. These flat pack houses were built light enough to be transported by airplane from Europe to remote locations in Africa to address the 1950‘s housing shortage in the French colonies. In 1949, Prouve and his
brother Henri Prouve won a competition initiated by the French government under De Gaulle to design inexpensive housing and administrative buildings for France's African colonies. They were meant for housing for the French colonial administrators in Africa. Three Maisons Tropicales were made, but at the end none were put into production. One had been shipped to Niamey, Niger in 1949 (Niamey house) and the other two were shipped to Brazzaville, Congo, in 1952. They were rediscovered during the 1980‘s and resettled from Africa to Europe in 2000. The Maison Tropicale will be at the center of discussion on Tuesday session on collecting French mid-century design in the program Collecting Design, which I teach at the NY School of Interior Design.