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Contemporary Optical House constructed with glass bricks, Hiroshima, Japan


Tokyo-based architectural practice NAP Architects have designed the Optical House project. Completed in 2012, the contemporary home has been constructed from glass bricks. The property can be found in Hiroshima, Japan.

According to the architects: “This house is sited among tall buildings in downtown Hiroshima, overlooking a street with many passing cars and trams. To obtain privacy and tranquility in these surroundings, we placed a garden and optical glass façade on the street side of the property.

“The garden is visible from all rooms, and the serene soundless scenery of the passing cars and trams imparts richness to life in the house. Sunlight from the east, refracting through the glass, creates beautiful light patterns.

“Rain striking the water-basin skylight manifests water patterns on the entrance floor. Filtered light through the garden trees flickers on the living room floor, and a super lightweight curtain of sputter-coated metal dances in the wind.

“Although located downtown in a city, the house enables residents to enjoy the changing light and city moods, as the day passes, and live in awareness of the changing seasons.

“A façade of some 6,000 pure-glass blocks were used. 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 realise 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.

“However, the glass retained micro-level surface asperities, but we actively welcomed this effect, for it would produce unexpected optical illusions in the interior design.”

Images courtesy of Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP Architects

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April 4, 2013 | Property | View comments

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