Visually light, yet structurally strong, glass has always been favoured by architects as a means of opening a building to its environment while shielding it from the elements of nature.
The use of glass in a variety of designs not only provides an unobstructed view of the exteriors but is also a structural and design element. In the quest for crafting the perfect space, glass plays a critical role in allowing natural light into the house as well as contributing to the overall palette of materials.
Glass House by Philip Johnson, Source: Dezeen by Michael Biondo
While the window panes and doors were the first uses of glass in the structure, today it has evolved into walls and beyond. No matter whether it is mirrored to reflect light, frosted to diffuse it, etched with intricate designs, or bubbled to playfully distort vision, glass not only relieves the pressure of opaque, obstinate materials but also provides a building facade with fluidity.
Here are a few examples of how glass can become an integral part of the design and structure.
Interior of the home, Source: Nishita Kamdar Studio
The ‘Mango tree house’ is not just a house but is a crafted experience of the ‘solace of sitting under a mango tree’. The straight lines, linearity of the planning, and primary use of glass, and steel, together with wood, make it a seamless blend of contemporary design and robust earthiness.
Openable Glass doors, Source: Nishita Kamdar Studio
Through the glass enclosure between the roof and plinth, a continuous visual connection to the farm outside is maintained, a true demonstration of “being one with nature.” As a perfect blend of aesthetics and structure, the larger-than-life glass sets the frame and seamlessly flows into the unbuilt space.
Indoor and Outdoor connection of Glasshouse, Source: Ritu and Associates
The Glasshouse by Ritu and Associates captures indoors and outdoors in a transparent enclosure. Besides being a comfortable place to sit and enjoy, it is a synthesis of Indian architecture and modern glass. The glass is the main skin of the structure. It becomes the backdrop for the lawn and the garden.
Glass and Wooden material palette, Source: Ritu and Associates
In combination with warm and wooden colours, the liberal use of glass on three sides of the structure creates a beautiful palette. The subtle plain surface of the glass is balanced with delicate ornamentation that successfully holds the eye's attention. As an impeccably indigenous yet rustic retreat, the home stands out.
Leaf House, Source: SJK architects
The leaf house began as an exploration of natural forms. It is located in the coastal town of Alibaug, India.
Concrete Canopies and glass glazing, Source: SJK architects
There are concrete canopies shaped like leaves covering the rooms of this house. The concrete roof forms pods which are enclosed in glass. The living space opens and closes to the greenery outside. The glazed walls can be opened when the wooden partition is folded back. Lush greenery surrounds the structure, reflecting the fluidity of the material used to build it.
As humans, we have always turned to nature to reduce stress, improve mental health, and maintain physical activity. A versatile material like glass blends well with different palettes to establish a direct connection with nature as well as reconnect with the self.
Built and Greens interaction post pandemic, Source interiordesign.net © Kevin C
Radhika is a storyteller first and an architect second. She believes that architecture is a powerful tool to address society. It is one of the easiest forms of art which is directly used and understood by every person, since ages. She is a writing enthusiast, who loves to capture the world and her ideas with pen, paper and lens.