Architecture

Glass House is big on efficiency, not so big on privacy

Glass House is big on efficien...
The Glass House offers its occupants amazing views of the rugged desert-like Spanish landscape
The Glass House offers its occupants amazing views of the rugged desert-like Spanish landscape
View 26 Images
Constructing the Glass House
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Constructing the Glass House
Constructing the Glass House
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Constructing the Glass House
Constructing the Glass House
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Constructing the Glass House
Constructing the Glass House
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Constructing the Glass House
Constructing the Glass House
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Constructing the Glass House
The Glass House is located in Grenada, Spain
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The Glass House is located in Grenada, Spain
The Glass House is also referred to as Casa del Desierto, or the Desert House
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The Glass House is also referred to as Casa del Desierto, or the Desert House
The Glass House was conceived by glass manufacturers Guardian Glass 
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The Glass House was conceived by glass manufacturers Guardian Glass 
The Glass House project also involved structural engineers AKT II and climate engineering firm Transsolar
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The Glass House project also involved structural engineers AKT II and climate engineering firm Transsolar
The Glass House will host up to two occupants for a week at a time
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The Glass House will host up to two occupants for a week at a time
The Glass House measures just 20 sq m (215 sq ft)
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The Glass House measures just 20 sq m (215 sq ft)
The Glass House is also referred to as Casa del Desierto, or the Desert House
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The Glass House is also referred to as Casa del Desierto, or the Desert House
The Glass House features a shaded porch area with large curtains, enabling some shading and a little additional privacy
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The Glass House features a shaded porch area with large curtains, enabling some shading and a little additional privacy
The Glass House is powered by roof-based solar panels
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The Glass House is powered by roof-based solar panels
The Glass House runs off-the-grid
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The Glass House runs off-the-grid
"The unit uses the vertical glazing panels of the envelope as structural walls, resisting the desert’s high-speed winds and supporting the timber stressed skin roof and deck," says OFIS
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"The unit uses the vertical glazing panels of the envelope as structural walls, resisting the desert’s high-speed winds and supporting the timber stressed skin roof and deck," says OFIS
The Glass House's interior includes a living room, bedroom and bathroom
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The Glass House's interior includes a living room, bedroom and bathroom
The Glass House measures just 20 sq m (215 sq ft)
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The Glass House measures just 20 sq m (215 sq ft)
The Glass House is also referred to as Casa del Desierto, or the Desert House
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The Glass House is also referred to as Casa del Desierto, or the Desert House
The Glass House offers its occupants amazing views of the rugged desert-like Spanish landscape
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The Glass House offers its occupants amazing views of the rugged desert-like Spanish landscape
The Glass House is located in Grenada, Spain
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The Glass House is located in Grenada, Spain
The Glass House features a small air-con unit inside 
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The Glass House features a small air-con unit inside 
The Glass House's sunken bath
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The Glass House's sunken bath
The Glass House's bedroom
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The Glass House's bedroom
The Glass House's bedroom
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The Glass House's bedroom
The Glass House's living room 
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The Glass House's living room 
View gallery - 26 images

Slovenia's OFIS Architects recently completed a prototype micro-house that runs off-the-grid in Granada, Spain, and serves as a retreat for one or two people for up to a week at a time. The dwelling, appropriately dubbed Glass House, sports an energy-efficient triple-glazed glass facade.

The Glass House, aka Casa del Desierto/Desert House, was conceived by glass manufacturer Guardian Glass (which also provided glazing for La Seine Musicale), to display its expertise in producing glass suitable for all weather. The project also involved structural engineers AKT II and climate engineering firm Transsolar.

The home measures 20 sq m (215 sq ft), split between three areas: a bedroom, a bathroom with sunken bathtub, and a living area. In an otherwise open design, one major concession to privacy is the toilet, which is placed in an opaque glass cubicle. A mirrored porch area with large curtains also add some shading and privacy.

Roof-based photovoltaic panels and a battery array provide all the electricity, while a solar collector produces hot water. A water tank is installed and a filtration system recycles greywater for drinking. The toilet is a standard flushing unit hooked up to a septic tank.

The Glass House's sunken bath
The Glass House's sunken bath

It can get very hot in Granada, Spain, and we did wonder how the interior would remain at a comfortable temperature – a concern shared by locals.

"The first time I heard about this project, I was baffled," says Miguel Pérez Navarro, mayor of Gorafe, Granada. "It may seem crazy at first, because it is about building something like a greenhouse in a desert, where on top of it all, the traditional houses are cave houses, which were originally excavated by the locals to adapt to this extreme climate."

We put this question to OFIS and were told that the home's overall design and use of triple-glazed efficient glass will ensure a comfortable temperature. The firm also installed insulation in the roof and floor, and a small air-conditioning unit can run using the energy provided by the solar panels.

Sources: Guardian Glass, OFIS Architects

View gallery - 26 images
3 comments
Douglas Bennett Rogers
On a buried basement with exterior foam insulation, this could be pretty economical.
CharlieSeattle
Why no use one way mirror glass for privacy?
Derek Howe
CharlieSeattle - That wouldn't do anything at night, only the day time.