F or the past sixteen years, Thomas Roszak and his family have lived in a glass home of his own design. A Chicago, Illinois-based architect, Roszak built his house in the city’s suburbs, siting it on an acre of land surrounded by maples, oaks and honey locusts to protect its residents from prying eyes and the occasional overabundance of sun. The design combines Roszak’s ideas about how space should flow from one room to the next and his desire to enjoy the changing play of light fully. “I don’t see any other way to live,” he says.
In our chaotic, overcrowded lives, glass homes offer instant communion with our surroundings along with an airiness that is particularly well suited to contemporary tastes. Glass walls frame scenery as if it were a mural, so the more dramatic the environment, the greater the role the material plays as a design element – and the more valuable the home becomes. As Mike Shapiro of HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty in Newport Beach, California, puts it: “Homeowners here spend millions for the view, so the more glass, the happier they are.”
Contrary to the glass houses of yesteryear, today’s glass structures are no longer plagued by such problems as condensation, leakage and energy waste. Thanks to major technological advances, contemporary glass homes have become high-performance structures; Shapiro has also seen a surge in glass used for interior bridges, flooring surfaces and infinity pool walls.
While no longer considered architectural curiosities, residences with external glass walls remain important markers in any landscape. As Roszak remarks, “When we first moved in, nobody on our street liked the house. Now they talk about how they live on the road that has the glass house.” You too could distinguish yourself while communing with the world from your very own glass home.
Recently completed, this astonishing new-build modern residence presides over approximately 2.4 acres and enjoys close to 309 feet of direct waterfront and a dock. A noted New York architect designed the house, which combines walls of thick glass with industrial elements such as floating staircases with exposed iron supports. The striking, light-filled floor plan offers 360-degree bay and ocean views, most stunningly from its top-floor deck.
$22,995,000 Property ID: DJZ2QL
Sotheby's International Realty
Harald Grant +1 516 527 7712
Seven years in the making and the last great work of famous Los Angeles architect Stephen Kanner – the recipient of more than 50 AIA awards – this home is pure art. Polished, large-format terrazzo tiles run from the secured street entry to the sand, seamlessly merging interior and exterior through glass walls and soaring ceilings. At every step, this world-class residence required extensive time and attention from skilled craftsmen, as its floating glass and terrazzo staircases attest.
$19,995,000 Property ID: 9D7MM5
HÔM Sotheby's International Realty
John Stanaland +1 949 689 9047
On the city’s exquisite waterfront, a haven of luxury and tranquillity awaits inside a majestic concrete enclosure. Asked to create an environment of enduring elegance, the architect delivered endless sea views with floor-to-ceiling glass walls framed in steel joinery and wrapped in a cedar exterior. The result is an extraordinary experience, connecting the land to the water through light and texture.
NZ $22,000,000 Property ID: NYN46X
New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty
Pene Milne +1 64 21 91 99 40
The Scorpion House is one of the most acclaimed homes in north Scottsdale. Architect Eddie Jones and his team masterfully blended glass, poured concrete and oxidized titanium panels into a curvilinear, organic plan that respects the boulder outcroppings and protects the natural setting. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls let diffused natural light onto limestone floors.
$4,495,000 Property ID: VLVJRM
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty
Debbie Negrin +1 480 734 3498
Jay Pennypacker +1 602 570 3962
Designed by award-winning architect Andy Neumann of Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects, this awe-inspiring home sits high in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains and enjoys incomparable views. Modernist in spirit and style, its structures are characterised by their functional minimalism and expanses of retractable Vitrocsa invisible wall glass, focusing guests’ attention on the surrounding natural views.
$24,000,000 Property ID: 0632569
Sotheby's International Realty
Montecito Upper Village Road Brokerage
Cristal Clarke + 1 805 886 9378
NEW YORK-BASED WRITER IYNA BORT CARUSO HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL AND OTHERS.