Glass houses aren't typically very practical to live in (take the Santambrogio home for example), but the Vertical Glass House differs from most similar structures thanks to a design that combines architectural novelty with a degree of privacy. Though it sports see-through ceilings and floors, a concrete facade ensures occupants are shielded from the gaze of passers-by.

Located in Shanghai, China, Vertical Glass House was originally designed for an architecture competition back in 1991, before finally being constructed by Atelier FCJZ last year for the Shanghai West Bund Biennial Architecture and Contemporary Art exhibition. It now serves as an occasional guesthouse for visiting artists and architects.

The four-story dwelling has a total floor space of 170 sq m (1,829 sq ft), but a physical footprint of only around 40 sq m (430 sq ft). Its outer appearance is very simple and the concrete facade is broken only by a few small slits which emit light onto the street outside at night.

Except for an occasional panel to support the spiral staircase, the ceilings, floors, and even the roof within Vertical Glass House are all constructed from durable 7-cm (2.7-in) thick tempered glass slabs, which are supported by a large central steel column and framework. This layout enables visitors to view each room in the house from top to bottom by simply looking up or down.

Thankfully, the dining room table isn't see-through, so despite its provocative placement above the bathroom, diners should have a chance to avoid glimpsing a view of the toilet as they eat – though perhaps a well-placed rug would be a sound investment.

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