Welcome to the world of transparent houses. In today’s world, privacy is something we are all aware of. Be it online safety or home security, most people like the comfort of being able to keep some things private from the outside world.
But imagine if you lived in a house made of glass.
While installing large windows is a must for many homeowners who are blessed with wonderful views of nature or the ocean, there are some who have taken glazing a step further.
Of course baring all to onlookers isn’t for everyone, however there is a certain romance to the concept of inviting the outdoors into your home, especially when you are surrounded by nature’s beauty.
The simplicity of a transparent home is that the internal and external spaces become much more intimately connected. Which is great when you have a secluded 49-acre plot to build it on.
The Philip Johnson Pittman house in New Canaan, Connecticut, nestles cosily beneath a stand of trees beside its own landscaped lake.
Built in 1948–49, it is considered to this day to be a landmark in modern architecture. Johnson’s design takes open plan living to the max – with see-through exterior walls and no interior partitions.
The Glass House was where Johnson spent his weekends, accompanied for many of those trips by his partner, art curator and collector David Whitney.
It was Whitney who furnished the house with many of the artworks that are still on permanent display at the property.
This historic estate is today under ownership of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and operates as a museum and gallery.
The Glass House and its grounds can be viewed by pre-booking a guided or self-guided tour.
Philip Johnson took his inspiration from another visionary architect: Mies van der Rohe, who began the design for his Farnsworth House in 1945.
The one-room property in what was back then a rural suburb of Chicago, Illinois was not completed until 1951. It was built as a holiday retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth.
Of the many examples of glass houses from around the world, most have been built in secluded, rural locations.
Architect Sou Fujimoto chose to site his see-through creation in Suginami district, within the busy urban outskirts of Tokyo, Japan. His House NA is apparently a nod to our ancient ancestors who lived in trees.
It’s not only the external concrete block walls commonly used to construct other homes in the area that Fujimoto has ditched in this design.
He also eschews traditional “rooms”, opting instead for a series of staggered-level platforms that create separate areas within the living space without obscuring the view. Some of these platforms extend beyond the glass walls, forming small and worryingly open-edged exterior spaces.
Because of these unusual split height floors, simply moving around inside the building is different to any other home.
This glass house features several short sets of stairs to climb up and down between the layered matrix of floor areas, and there is an element of hopping from platform to platform. It’s surreal enough that you might begin to expect that Mario or Luigi will race by at any minute.
The architect’s plans are titled “House like a Single Tree” and they describe his premise that the various spaces within the house used for different activities are interconnected in “A unity of separation and coherence”.
Residents of this three-story home can escape from prying eyes/the gaze of curious passer’s-by only by hiding out in the WC, or by closing the bedroom blinds.
When Italian architects Santambrogiomilano designed their Cliff House, they envisioned a building so transparent that you could pretty much see through everything. It is outfitted with glass furniture, a glass staircase, even transparent floors. If you look hard enough, you might spot Cinderella’s missing glass shoe in there!
The almost-invisible structure seems to float above a shallow pool of water, which apparently “lets the owner feel as though floating above the ocean seen in the horizon”.
Obviously more an architect’s dream than a practical place to live, it would be cool to look right through it with your own eyes.
If you fancy trying out life inside a transparent living space but aren’t ready to commit to going all out on a high price tag glass affair, then glamping in a Casabubble could be for you.
Each crazy inflatable bubble looks exactly like a kid’s drawing of an igloo.
They are luxurious and eco-friendly, with an air-filter ventilation system as standard. You can even plug into the optional solar panel kit.