An Isolated Glass Farmhouse, No Curtains Required

An Isolated Glass Farmhouse, No Curtains Required

Nancy Mitchell
Jun 1, 2017

Glass houses can be very beautiful, but then there's the difficulty of shielding yourself from the prying eyes of your neighbors. One solution? Just don't have any neighbors.

(Image credit: Olson Kundig Architects)

Inspired by Philip Johnson's Glass House, these homeowners wanted a dramatic, glass-walled home for their property in rural Oregon. The site, on a high plateau surround by wheat fields and mountains, meant privacy wasn't much of an issue. This allowed the architects at Olson Kundig to really go for broke, creating a translucent box of a farmhouse that seems to float above the surrounding prairie.

Only one wall of the farmhouse, on the north side, is a wall in the traditional sense: the rest are uninterrupted expanses of glass, opening up the home's living area, kitchen and sleeping spaces to the surrounding countryside. (There are, fortunately, real walls surrounding the bathroom.)

Living in a glass box in the middle of a windswept prairie might sound a little cold, but the architects have accounted for that. The translucent walls are made of high-efficiency glass, and the light shelf on the home's south side blocks out the hot summer sun, while allowing low-angle winter sunlight to warm the house. If the house appears to be floating, it's because it actually is: the concrete slab is raised above the ground plane, to protect it from freezing winter temperatures.

Also on the property, only a few steps away, is a barn, whose solid, traditional structure makes a striking contrast with the glass-walled farmhouse. The bottom level provides storage for farm equipment, with guest rooms upstairs. The position of the barn on the opposite side of the farmhouse's one solid wall gives the bedroom in the main house a little privacy.

The two buildings, taken together, make a particularly arresting composition—an intriguing combination of the familiar and the new, juxtaposed against the timeless landscape of the mountains.

To read more about this project, and see more photos, check out the project page at Dwell.

All photos by Tim Bies for Olson Kundig, via Dwell. Floor plan by Olson Kundig, via Home DGSN.

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