The Glass House

Rhinebeck, NY



New Construction


A vertical curved glazed layer offers a thin separation and allows the exterior to penetrate the inside. Created as a weekend house and sited on a large property in upstate New York, where the woods begin to break into an open valley, the Glass House is an evolution of a modern archetype: the glass eukaryotic dwelling. As a house, it is a practical exercise in minimalism; as architecture it is many other things: a “machine in the garden,” a glass menagerie, an object in a field containing objects in its field. Programmatically, the house separates zones of different functions based on the shared criteria of what each one requires, but also according to how and when the spaces are used. The kitchen and dining areas are combined into a single space on the eastern lobe and the living and sleeping areas located on the western lobe, divided only by mahogany storage block. The structural core, or nucleus of the house contains the bathroom and ancillary spaces. The sheltering element of the Glass House is also the only structural element. It consists of a cantilevered concrete, umbrella-like shell which acts as both vertical and horizontal structure. The area beneath this canopy is enclosed by a simple vertical glazed curtain. However, the threshold between inside and outside begins to disappear, and the relationship with nature is paramount at the House. The surrounding landscape and vegetation are always present and only physically separated from the interior by a mere sheet of glass. The high-performance envelope as well the planted roof are used to improve energy efficiency while at the same time, further reinforcing the relationship with nature. The house is heated and cooled via radiant loops in the floor and ceiling, which makes use of ground-source thermal transfer to lessen the dependence on supplemental power.

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