Architecture

A glass house you could actually live in

The four-story Vertical Glass House, by architectural firm Atelier FCJZ (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
The four-story Vertical Glass House, by architectural firm Atelier FCJZ (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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A rough concrete facade is broken only by a few small slits which emit light onto the street outside at night (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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A rough concrete facade is broken only by a few small slits which emit light onto the street outside at night (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
The interior decor is dark though appealing, with absinthe-green lighting and an ornate spiral staircase setting the mood (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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The interior decor is dark though appealing, with absinthe-green lighting and an ornate spiral staircase setting the mood (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
Vertical Glass House was originally designed for an architecture competition back in 1991 (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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Vertical Glass House was originally designed for an architecture competition back in 1991 (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
It was constructed last year for the Shanghai-based West Bund Biennial Architecture and Contemporary Art exhibition (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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It was constructed last year for the Shanghai-based West Bund Biennial Architecture and Contemporary Art exhibition (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
The four-story Vertical Glass House, by architectural firm Atelier FCJZ (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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The four-story Vertical Glass House, by architectural firm Atelier FCJZ (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
The home has a total floor space of 170 sq m (1,829 sq ft), but a physical footprint of around 40 sq m (430 sq ft) (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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The home has a total floor space of 170 sq m (1,829 sq ft), but a physical footprint of around 40 sq m (430 sq ft) (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
Don't look down. No, seriously ... (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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Don't look down. No, seriously ... (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
A rough concrete facade is broken only by a few small slits which emit light onto the street outside at night (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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A rough concrete facade is broken only by a few small slits which emit light onto the street outside at night (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
The house is located in Shanghai, China (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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The house is located in Shanghai, China (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
Though the home sports see through ceilings and walls, its concrete facade frees occupants from the wandering gaze of passersby (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
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Though the home sports see through ceilings and walls, its concrete facade frees occupants from the wandering gaze of passersby (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Atelier FCJZ)

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.

The home has a total floor space of 170 sq m (1,829 sq ft), but a physical footprint of around 40 sq m (430 sq ft) (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)
The home has a total floor space of 170 sq m (1,829 sq ft), but a physical footprint of around 40 sq m (430 sq ft) (Photo: Atelier FCJZ)

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.

Source: Atelier FCJZ via Arch Daily

14 comments
Robert Walther
WOW! Finally! * A prison designed for American Banksters! * This bizarre monolith firmly anchors ground zero of 'Just Plain Nuts'. * Interesting and obscenely expensive Sci Fi movie set? * Adds resounding emphasis to 'Don't sh*t where you eat'!
The Skud
Where do these people get the money to erect such stupidity? It seems a totally pointless exercise, something that would soon bore the residents completely. The outer shell of concrete would only increase the weirdness. It would make a little bit more sense for the concrete walls being replaced by 'electronic' mirror glass sheets, so at least a person could look out and see something without also being on display 24/7. There are photos on the web - unfortunately I cannot find the link quickly - of a city street corner public toilet, a mirrored cube from the outside, but transparent looking out from the inside.
Paul Briers
It looks like the house on Thirteen Ghosts: http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/RhjZzCX1ZmI/maxresdefault.jpg
owlbeyou
Quite impractical, but still interesting as a styling exercise for architects who love to get their hands on "out of the box" (!) expressive design. In the real world, one would have to change much of it to make it a livable space for the occupants.
BigGoofyGuy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteen_Ghosts I think the glass house in the movie Thirteen Ghosts would be way more desireable to live in (especially if one does not have thirteen ghosts to contend with or a evil guy trying to take over the world). IMO, it is way to stark to actually live in. I would have opaque glass where the bathroom is and smart glass everywhere else (one flip of a switch, the glass is opaque so people on the higher floors won't freak out). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_glass
Lewis M. Dickens III
Well, Living in the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Townhouses in Detroit, some 55 years old now with glass facades and soon to become a national Landmark I find this design to be well fitted to turning people into depressed psychopaths and toilette fetishists. Two steps forward and 3 steps back. Gawd! Bill
Matt Fletcher
Could work nicely as a safe house or jail. And if it didn't have the see through ceiling on the bathroom could work well as a bomb or biological shelter, if fitted with the proper ventilation and water cleaners. Otherwise keep the windows on the walls.
yosuperyo
This is great for future prison design where guards can monitor inmates 24/7! Awesome!!!
Marco Corona
Yuck. Someone's architectural skills forgot to include a balance of visual beauty. We don't need anymore concrete jungle eyesores mucking up communities.
BlackSlax
As Soupy Sez, "People who live in glass houses, should dress in the basement."