Amazing Glass Houses

We mention many of our own neighborhoods on our blog: Bella Vista, Rittenhouse SquareSouth Philadelphia, and more.  But all around the world, you can find glass homes, that are some of the most spectacular houses created by modern architecture today. Some may even call them sublime. There is something about them that gives an element of rawness, which gives an element of “subconscious voyeurism” for any onlooker. At the same time, its unusual and modern lines can give an air of self-possession, subtly affirming its identity as distinct from everything else. No wonder people are curious about them.

There are many glass houses in the world today; however, there are some that have stood out not just for its designs but for its uniqueness as well. Here are two of the most popular glass houses in the world today:

Case Study House #22, the Stahl House

The Post World War II in 1945 has been a time of bleak opportunities for most people, particularly the soldiers who serve in the war. With this in mind, Arts and Architecture commissioned some of the best architects of the day to design modern homes for soldiers who were returning from World War II. A total of 25 homes were built from 1945 to 1966 in response to this undertaking, but only one design stood out from the rest of the houses: Case Study #22.

The Stahl house, which was built on a cliff showing spectacular view of Los Angeles, is a modernist-styled house in Los Angeles. Many also consider it a representation of modern architecture during the 20th century. The house became popular due to a series of photographs taken by Julius Shulman, which showed two women sitting on a corner of the house overlooking a larger view of the city at night. Soon, it became a popular location for fashion shoots, movies, and even ad campaigns.

The house was designed by Pierre Koenig for his client, Buck Stahl. Stahl, who was a former professional football player, was a purchasing agent for Hughes Aircraft during that time. He and his wife, Carlotta, were renting a house in the Hollywood Hills when Stahl saw an empty lot and bought it for $13,500. He had a vision to build a unique house, and hired Koenig to help in designing the house. The house was completed in 1959.

Three sides of the house were created using glass plates. The floors have been covered with wall-to-wall carpet, and shatter-proof glass windows were used to add strength to the original glasses that were installed back then. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects has ranked the Stahl house (#140) as one of the top 150 structures on its “America’s Favorite Architecture.” It was also the only private residential home to have been included on the list.

Those interested to see the Stahl house can take advantage of guided tours during the day, although its availability and admission will vary occasionally. The best time to tour the house would be at night — one can see a panoramic view of Los Angeles and its spectacular bright lights.

The Dune House Suffolk, United Kingdom

The Dune House is an idyllic spot that overlooks the very edge of the sea, whether it’s being viewed from the terraces, the bedrooms, and even the bathrooms on the upper floor. It is found on a beautiful spot on the very border of the sea, nestled among rolling dunes.  The house, which is located just south of the picturesque village of Thorpeness in Suffolk, is actually a holiday house for rent. It is also part of the “Living Architecture” program, making it an extraordinary accommodation for those who are looking for a sensational weekend break. Visitors can walk out from the living room directly onto the beach and enjoy extraordinary panoramic views over the sea from the terraces, bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper floor.

Despite conforming to the big gables found in other houses, the Dune house has unique features that make it stand out from the rest. The most eye-catching is its origami-like roof that’s irregularly shaped in all areas, giving an added “floating” effect to its overall structure.

The house, which can only accommodate nine people, can be accessed through a concrete walkway placed within the sand dunes. Visitors can see all the sides of the landscape through its large, glazed door. One can even soak in the tub and still get a magnificent view of the landscape. There is also a small external terrace that gives a  view of the ocean, and the ground floor leads to the library, which also includes four bedrooms and four bathrooms (with a shower).

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