An guide to designing and building floor to ceiling windows that connect the inside to the outside world.
Connect with Nature
Writings

“If you view nature through glass walls(...) it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside.

That way more is said about nature - it becomes part of a larger whole.”  Mies van der Rohe

AT RAA we are inspired and rooted in connecting with nature and is why we believe in the power of glass as a portal to bring nature closer to home.  With our expertise in designing building state of the art façade systems and we are offering an insight into our process.

Glass technology has evolved in the past decade,and coupled with the availability of new  materials, it has made possible to build very efficient buildings that can give us the perfect view to the outside, as well as create a physical connection. While custom glazing systems are always an option, there are many products  available on the market that provide beautifully clean lines and energy efficient systems, that facilitate the perfect picture view, with the potential to open up fully to nature.

Glass technology allows us to invite these elements into our interior spaces and take enjoy nature’s  healing beauty.

                                                                                                         

A glance at the original glass houses

The Farnsworth House, by Mies Van der Rohe, symbolizes the essence of simplicity in its purest form. Commissioned by Edith Farnsworth, the house located in Plano, Illinois, was designed as a weekend retreat, and it was completed in 1951. The house has an open plan, with a central core that contains the services, bathrooms and the kitchen, which has a long continuous stainless steel counter top. The structure of the house consists of two slabs with vertical steel beams supporting them. Glass exterior walls surround the entire house.

Photography by Bogdan Profir

The Glass House designed by Philip Johnson is meant as a pavilion to view the surrounding landscape.  It was built in 1949. The architect notes: “The Glass House stylistically is a mixture of Mies van der Rohe, Malevich, the Parthenon, the English garden, the whole Romantic Movement, the asymmetry of the 19th century. In other words, all these things are mixed up in it but basically it is the last of the modern, in the sense of the historic way we treat modern architecture today, the simple cube”

Photograph by Erik Johnson

Glass House Facades today: A guide to finding the perfect operable floor to ceiling window

Glass technology today enables us to build sustainable environments that blend nature with the interior space.

Glass technology has evolved in the past decade, and coupled with the availability of new  materials, it has made it possible to build very efficient buildings that can give us the perfect view to the outside, as well as create a physical connection. While custom glazing systems are always an option, there are many products  available on the market that provide beautifully clean lines and energy efficient systems, that facilitate the perfect picture view, with the potential to open up fully to nature.

We showcase in the next pages a few great manufactures. However, the companies mentioned are not compensating this report in any way.

The following images showcase some of the most luxurious operable glazing systems that provide large openings and unlimited views. Each project must determine the feasibility of the products, depending on design, schedule and cost, along with other additional factors.

Custom made systems are also widely used, and while the readily available products offer integrated design, engineering and installation, those systems involve a more elaborate design and engineering process.

For further information and discussion, please contact us. We are happy to guide you through your choices. We are here to help navigate the complex nature of the design and construction process.

Ramona Albert, NYC Townhouse

SKYFRAME   $$$

Their motto is "A view not a window"

This system is beautifully minimal and open to the outside. Made and engineered in Switzerland, the system is carefully crafted to achieve a hidden frame, with the smallest available vertical members made of aluminum or glass fiber reinforced plastic.

The glazing panels can be curved, tilted, in a sliding or pivoting position. It can accommodate large panels of glass (up to four meters) and various high efficiency systems and glazing types.

This product is the perfect choice for an amazingly clean view with minimal frame, and maximum desired opening. “The spectacular frameless glass panels and flush transitions allow inside and outside to merge seamlessly into one another to form a living space.”

This system is top of the line. It is more costly than other systems, but it is designed, engineered and installed by one company, bringing great craftsmanship to the project.

Villa su lago, Laco di Garda, photo by marcello Mariana

VITROCSA   $$$

The standard in the slim line sliding glass system design.

Vitrocsa created the slim line system inspired by the Californian mid-century modern architecture.

The system has an invisible sill and extremely minimal vertical mullions. The glazing surfaces can be up to 250 sf., and it allows for various options of glazing combinations, as well as hurricane proof assembly. It offers many variations in the window system mechanics, can be vertically sliding, pivoting, or with a turnable corner.

This product is the perfect choice for achieving large open views. More costly than other products, it is however a streamlined system that is very minimal and clean.

The system is manufactured in the US using swiss made extrusions and parts.

Sittig House by Marmol Ratziner, San Francisco

REYNAER HIFINITY   $$$$

The Hi-Finity System offers large panels of glass up to 11.5’ x 11.5’.

The system prides itself in creating an infinite view with the ultimate performance. The ultra-slim design for the sliding doors create large open surfaces for a light and “elegant” appearance.

The aluminum profiles are integrated in the wall,  and the glass surfaces extend from floor to ceiling.

The system has a high energy performance can achieve passive house level,through the use of double and triple glazing solutions. The panels are perfect for low energy houses.

Reynaers is an European company and supplies much of the residential and the commercial sector. It offers design, engineering and installation support.

Apartment Silesia by MMOA Pracownia

STYLINE  $$$$$

Styline is the state of the art sliding glazing system that has the ability to create large panels with the use of very minimal profiles.

It uses glass as the main structural component, and the frame guides the motion of the door. The frame is embedded in the walls, floor and ceiling for a very streamlined look. The 3/4” vertical members are almost invisible between the panels.

The aluminum system comes in many finishes, standard as well as custom, and can be adjusted by need.

The panel heights can be up to 240” and widths up to 120”. The company manufactures and installs all their products.

Based in California this company is often an Architect’s favorite.

House in California by Magni Kalman Design

VIEW ALL INSIGHT

LATEST & INSPIRATION

Sign up to receive news and inspiration from Ramona Albert Architecture
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

MORE INSIGHTS