Prouvé house at the Southbank

A collaborative homage between London’s Design Museum and the Tate Modern to one of Jean Prouvé’s most prominent architectural projects opens at the Southbank today.

La Maison Tropicale will see one of Prouvé’s three prefabricated tropical house prototypes restored to its former glory and exhibited at Tate Modern, in what is the first partnership ever between the two institutions.

The installation coincides with the launch of a retrospective of Prouvé’s work –The Poetics of the Technical Object – on show at the Design Museum until 13 April. It is the UK’s first show of Prouvé’s work.

Visitors to the installation at the Tate Modern will be able to walk around the ‘flat pack’ house, which was originally built in the Republic of Congo capital, Brazzaville, when the African country was under French rule.

The house, which was found in the city in 2000 in a dilapidated state, riddled with bullet holes, was subsequently dismantled, returned to France and restored.

Hotelier and art collector André Balazs bought the piece last year for a record $4.5m (£2.2m) at auction at Christie’s in New York.

The prototype house was brought to the UK with the help of Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic, while the need for sufficient outdoor space to display the item led to discussions with Tate Modern.

A Design Museum spokesman says plans are in the pipeline for further collaborations with Tate Modern, but these are in too early a stage to disclose details.

La Maison Tropicale will be exhibited outside Tate Modern for three months.

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