Optical Glass House

A glass brick façade in the middle of Hiroshima

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP are the creators of this jewel set in the heart of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. This innovative house stands among some of the city’s tallest buildings, overlooking a bustling street full of cars and trams. So to create peace and privacy in this busy environment, the architects fronted the house with a garden, visible from the exterior through a façade of optical glass.

It’s also visible from every room in the house. Still and silent, the garden strikes a contrast with the cars and trams passing on the street outside, imbuing the house with life and luxuriance.

Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects01The sunlight enters from the east, refracting through the glass in attractive patterns of light. The rain that falls on the roof is conveyed to entrance level by various drains. The light filters through the trees in the garden, dappling the floor of the lounge, while a diaphanous metal curtain stirs in the breeze. It all makes for an oasis of peace in the middle of the chaos outside.

With its city-centre location, this house is a place where the light and the changing moods of the urban environment—as well as the seasons—can be appreciated in all their fullness.

To obtain all these effects, the façade of the building is built of solid transparent glass bricks individually manufactured by a painstaking artisan process.

After melting, the glass was poured into a special steel mould and left to cool very slowly. With this method, the glass gains viscosity more gradually, the result of which is an exceptionally compact end product. Each brick measures 50 x 235 x 50 mm, with a rusticated surface finish that lends itself to unusual optical effects.

The bricks had to be produced to very high degrees of precision, as the assembly system left little room for gaps. The bricks were then individually perforated and all 6,000 of them strung one by one, like beads on a necklace, onto 74 suspended stainless steel rods. The end result is a translucent cube of glass and steel.

Source: Arquitectura Viva, Aasarchitecture.com
Images: Asaarchitecture.com

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