Sunday, 13 July 2014


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Living in a Bubble: 14 Privacy-Free Transparent Houses
By Steph,
Web Urbanist, 7 July 2014.

Sometimes, beautiful views of your surroundings simply trump the need for privacy. Living in a bubble isn’t so bad when you’re in a remote location gazing at the sea or the forest, but some people take it one step further, living in almost entirely transparent spaces even in busy urban locations.

1. Cylindrical Glass House Containing a Tree

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If you’re living in a secluded forest, does it matter whether the walls of your home are entirely transparent? Perhaps you wouldn’t mind if you lived inside ‘Tree in the House.’

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‘Tree in the House’ by Masov Aibeka is a four-story modern treehouse encapsulating a beautiful tree. A white spiral staircase winds around the tree, taking you from one room to the next.

2. Transparent Floating Vacation Home

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The term ‘floating house’ would typically indicate a house boat or other structure on the water, but in this case, it’s all about the visuals.

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Designed by Jarmund/Vigsnaes Arkitekter, this home features a gabled black upper floor on top of an entirely transparent lower floor so that from a distance, the home appears to be levitating.

3. Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe

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The classic Farnsworth House is one of the most well-known works by architect Mies van der Rohe. Built for Dr. Edith Farnsworth between 1945 and 1951 in Plano, Illinois, the glass home is located on a secluded 10-acre site.

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The design seeks to unite the occupants with the natural world just outside, using the adjacent trees for shading and privacy.

4. Glass Cube House by Carlo Santambrogio

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These two entirely see-through houses redefine what it means to put your life on display. Italian architecture firm Santambrogio sought the clearest glass to maintain transparency even through a series of walls, built-in shelves and staircases.

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‘Snow House,’ the three-story structure pictured, is one of a series of glass houses created by the firm, and this one has glass thick enough to withstand heavy loads of snow. Special glass panels instantly turn matte for privacy at the touch of a button. The single-story version, ‘Cliff House,’ uses thinner, lighter glass elements.

5. House NA by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Rather than trying to cut individual inhabitants off from their neighbours, as is typical in densely populated settings, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto decided to create a home that would unite them.

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House NA has an almost entirely transparent street-front facade, and instead of enclosed rooms, the interior is filled with small platforms at various heights for free movement and clear lines of sight.

6. Shelter Island Hill House by Michael P. Johnson and Stuart Parr Design

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Located on New York’s sparsely populated Shelter Island, this home by Stuart Parr Design & Michael P. Johnson Design consists of a clear box elevated above ground level on steel and concrete supports to better take in views of the sea.

7. Long Island House by Kanner Architects

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Another Long Island house, this one by Kanner Architects, has glass walls on all sides to look out over the Atlantic Ocean from various angles throughout the interior.

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FEMA requires the house to be elevated above the ground plane, so the architects created a carport for four cars and a glass entry lobby leading up to the two-level residence. Sheer white PVC ‘veils’ attached to the outer steel framework of the house provide a little bit of privacy at night.

8. Translucent House with Plastic Walls

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Translucent plastic encloses this home by Suppose Design Office, making it glow like a lantern after dark.

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Designed for a family with three children, the house in Hiroshima has a bright and open feel by day. The corrugated plastic affords only hazy, diffused views of the outside from within, or of the inside from without.

9. Glass House by Philip Johnson

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Almost certainly derived from Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, the Glass House by architect Philip Johnson was built in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut as his own residence.

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Preoccupied with an idea of purity, the design leaves no room to hide a cluttered life. But, once again, a private location on top of a hill on a 47-acre estate makes that less of a concern than it would be in a busy urban setting.

10. Forest Lantern Home, Karuizawa, Japan

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The Ring House by TNA Architects is a country retreat outside Tokyo, wrapped in rings of glass and wood with 360-degree views of the forest.

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There are no neighbours, and the woods offer a dark haven, so the home feels secluded from the world despite its openness.

11. Peekaboo Apartment

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Clear panes of glass offering an unshielded look into a bright white apartment contrast starkly with dark, heavy stone in this curious condo conversion.

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Designer Anne Sohpie Goneau renovated a highly traditional space into a light and open modern apartment full of slick black and white surfaces.

12. ISEAMI House

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If you lived in a Costa Rican jungle overlooking the sea, how could you not have as much glass as possible in your home to enjoy every second of the views?

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The ISEAMI House by Robles Arquitectos will serve as a multifunctional space for meditation, yoga and other activities for the ISEAMI Institute, with a residence on the second floor for the director.

13. Life-Sized Dollhouse

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A life-sized dollhouse glowing in a dark, rural Canadian field is a strange sight to see.

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Artist Heather Benning came across an abandoned farmhouse in Saskatchewan and transformed it with a partial renovation that created the dollhouse interior while preserving the decay of the exterior. One wall was removed altogether and repaved with glass for the full effect.

14. Bubble Hotel

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Live in a bubble, literally, with fun portable accommodations perfect for travellers who want to feel connected to their environment but still sleep in a ‘real bed.’

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The Bubble Hotel in Marseille, France is a series of inflatable pods ranging from entirely transparent to partially opaque. A nearby lodge offers common space.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited.]

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