Thursday, 21 January 2016


Architecture with Nothing to Hide: 12 Glass Box Buildings
By Steph,
Web Urbanist, 13 January 2016.

Spotlighting the reflective, shimmering and transparent qualities of glass, architecture primarily made up of glazed volumes interacts with its environment in ways that opaque structures simply can’t, whether they’re overlooking the ocean or in the middle of a busy urban square. Their sense of vulnerability is tempered by this feeling of connection, containing their inhabitants without cutting them off from the world.

1. Japanese School


“I wanted to create a building where it isn’t clear if there are any rules at all,” says architect Junya Ishigami of the disorienting Kanagawa Institute of Technology, comprised of little more than 305 steel columns and a whole lot of glass.


The structure reflects the trees at its perimeter, seeming to multiply them, making it feel more like a forest itself than a college classroom. Inside, the steel beams mimic tree trunks.

2. Russet Residence by Splyce Design


Stacks of glazed boxes jut out from a Vancouver hillside in this modern residence by Splyce Design, stretching out toward the ocean.


Some rooms even cantilever from the sides of the house, maximizing the number of interior spaces with an impressive view. All of that frameless glazing helps the home blend in with its surrounding forest environment.

3. Offices for Junta de Castilla y Leon by Alberto Campo Baeza


How do you make a structure feel simultaneously open and vulnerable, and as secure as a fortress? Build a glass box inside a stone enclosure, as the Offices for Junta de Castilla y León demonstrates.


Designed by Alberto Campo Baeza, the structure utilizes sandstone to disguise the very modern building in its historic environment, the walled city of Zamora, Spain. The perimeter walls provide privacy, while the glazed box within soaks up sunlight.

4. Skyline Residence


The incredible Skyline Residence in Hollywood by Belzberg Architects has its very own drive-in theatre on the side of a geometric glazed volume.


The entirety of the glass facade opens to the sky on the bottom floor, leading out to a 65-foot hillside infinity pool.

5. Lac Supérieur Residence


High up n the terraced hills of Quebec’s Laurentian mountains, this beautiful home by Montreal-based firm Saucier + Perrotte has gained the nickname ‘The Cube’ among locals living in traditional ski chalets.


But though the Lac Superieur Residence may contrast with existing structures, there’s admiration in that gaze. The streamlined home features a glassed-in section in the middle that cantilevers out over the grass.

6. Lomocubes


Not only do some of the private rooms within this stacked-cube structure by MPA Architetti extend past the facade, a stunning infinity pool does the same from the top level.


Overlooking Lake Lugano in Switzerland, the Lomocubes building features 12 luxury apartments and a spacious penthouse for the lucky top-floor dweller.

7. Cantilevered Boston Home

Photo: Eirik Johnson for The Wall Street Journal

The great room of this Massachusetts home by Boston architect Warren Schwartz floats 14 feet off the ground, the glass tip acting as a lookout point.

Photos: Eirik Johnson for The Wall Street Journal

The cantilevered portion is counterbalanced by a hidden concrete basement tucked into the hillside.

8. Stacked Glass Farm


Located in the middle of urban Tokyo, the stacked glass cubes of Roppongi Nouen Farm by ON Design turn food production into an architectural statement.


They lift the vegetable beds to mimic the proportions of adjacent skyscrapers. The produce is served in a nearby restaurant.

9. Glass Cube Lake House


Canadian studio GH3 places a glass cube at the edge of Ontario’s Stoney Lake, set atop an opaque boathouse.


Translucent panels can be pulled over the glass of this photographer’s studio to enhance privacy.

10. Casa Golf


Concrete and glass set off each other’s most notable qualities as they come together in Casa Golf by Argentinean architect Luciano Kruk.


Located near Buenos Aires and looking out onto a golf course, the home is oriented to take in only the most beautiful views, its windows mostly facing the front and rear rather than the sides.

11. House in Rokko


From far away, it probably looks like a modest prefab home elevated on stilts at the edge of a Kobe hillside in southern Japan. Tato Architects placed a metal barn on top of a glass box for ‘House in Rokko.’


The second-floor wrap-around balcony creates an overhang that shades the very transparent bottom floor. As open as that level may be, it’s actually not visible to any other houses on the hillside, or from below.

12. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth by Tadao Ando


Five flat-roofed glass rectangles rise from a reflecting pool at the Modern Museum of Fort Worth by architect Tadao Ando, creating a glittering tableau of simple materials and clean, unfussy lines. The museum itself is presented as a work of modern art, with its concrete roofs supported by massive Y-shaped pillars.


Says Ando, “By using glass as a wall, physically there is a barrier, protection from the outside, but visually there is no boundary between outside and inside. There is also the light that comes off the water through the glass that indicates a lack of boundary and can make its presence felt on the wall.”

Top image: Lomocubes. Credit: MPA Architetti via Contemporist.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited. Some links added.]

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