Optical Glass House is located among tall buildings in downtown Hiroshima, directly facing the street with many passing cars and trams. This house was designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP for their clients to get privacy and tranquility in this environment, they place the garden and optical glass façade on the side of the road. The garden surrounds the house and visible from all rooms, capable of creating tranquil scenery without the noise of passing cars and the trend gives richness to life at home.
This house is very unique, the sunlight from the east usually refracts through the glass, creating a beautiful light pattern. The rain that fell from the roof to the windows manifested a water pattern on the floor of the entrance. The light that filtered through the trees twinkling garden connected with the living room, and super lightweight curtains of sputter coated metal dance in the wind. Despite its location in the city center, this house still allows its residents to enjoy the changing lights and atmosphere of the city, as the days go by and the seasons change.
From the architects,
“A façade of some 6,000 pure-glass blocks (50mm x 235mm x 50mm) was employed. The pure-glass blocks, with their large mass-per-unit area, effectively shut out sound and enable the creation of an open, clearly articulated garden that admits the city scenery. To realize such a façade, glass casting was employed to produce glass of extremely high transparency from borosilicate, the raw material for optical glass. The casting process was exceedingly difficult, for it required both slow cooling to remove residual stress from within the glass, and high dimensional accuracy.”
“So large was the 8.6m x 8.6m façade, it could not stand independently if constructed by laying rows of glass blocks a mere 50mm deep. We therefore punctured the glass blocks with holes and strung them on 75 stainless steel bolts suspended from the beam above the façade. Such a structure would be vulnerable to lateral stress, however, along with the glass blocks, we strung on stainless steel flat bars (40mm x 4mm) at 10 centimeter intervals. The flat bar is seated within the 50mm-thick glass block to render it invisible, and thus a uniform 6mm sealing joint between the glass blocks was achieved. The result – a transparent façade when seen from either the garden or the street. The façade appears like a waterfall flowing downward, scattering light and filling the air with freshness.”