Sep 27, 2011

TREND | Glass Houses

Phillip Johnson, Urban Glass House, glass, metal, building materials, 2005

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but they should enjoy the view.  Architects all over the world are using glass as the exterior walls of homes to create breathtaking buildings that enhance every city they appear in.  But what is the intent of the architect for designing and building these massive transparent dwellings? Do the designers want the inhabitant to publicize their lives to their neighbors or is the intent for the surroundings to become part of the architecture and art of the home?

The Urban Glass House designed by Phillip Johnson’s firm is pointing directly to the architects’ first residential project from 1949, Glass House, where Johnson built a home on his property with glass walls and an open floor plan with the intent of the home melding into its surroundings.  Johnson’s business partner, Alan Ritchie, speaks about the Urban Glass House in the following interview with Newsweek:

We thought: What else was Mr. Johnson doing in the 1950s that we could incorporate as a reference? We decided to refer to the Seagram Building in terms of scale and urban context, and then fuse that idea with the simple clarity of the Glass House.

Johnson’s career came full circle as The Urban Glass House, in Manhattan, was his final project before his death in 2005 at the age of 98. The upscale apartment complex once had an amazing view of the Hudson River but is now fighting the Garbage Garage that will block the resident’s view of the park and river, essentially destroying the entire concept of the building as it was intended by Johnson. 
Noriyoshi Morimura, The Edge House, Glass and concrete, 2008

The Edge House, a project by Noriyoshi Morimura architects and associates, is in Osaka Bay, Japan.  The structure is set in the side of a mountain and overlooks the city.  The mountain looks as if it is engulfing the structure and the concrete of the home seems to become a part of the mountain itself.    The side walls are made of concrete but the adjacent walls are huge glass windows allowing you to see through the entire home.  The glass walls also seem to expand the square footage of the house.  The Edge House has an open layout with very few interior walls defining each room into traditional uses such as a bedrooms or living rooms. The web page for Noriyoshi Morimura is in Japanese, so it is hard to learn much from the architects themselves, but a picture is worth more than words. 
Bjarke Ingles Group, The VM Houses, glass, metal, and building materials, 2005

The VM Houses in Copenhagen were created by the architectural firm BIG.  The founder of this firm is Bjarke Ingles. Ingles stated in an interview with that he wanted his firm to “create something that you could not find anywhere else”.  The apartment buildings were formed by creating a V and M shape from the bases of the buildings, so that from birds-eye view they form each of the letters.  This allows for every apartment to have an impressive view of the sweeping fields that surround the buildings.  What sets this apartment complex even further apart from the rest is that there are over 80 different floor plans in the two towers combined.  While this project does not blend into its surroundings as much as the previous home does, the theme is still the same, to allow each of the occupants to have views from every part of the apartment and to fuse the outside and inside world. 
Each of the glass homes above has one thing in common, and that is that the architect has placed each residence on a piece property with an amazing view of its surroundings.  It seems to be clear that although the glass homes can be peered into by outsiders, the intention of the architect is that the outside world becomes the art work on the glass walls of the homes they create. 

-Vanessa Stuart

1 comment:

  1. Glass architecture is so amazing because you get to see a wonderful view and yet still get your privacy. I want to search homes with glass walls and buy one someday.