The combination of glass and iron in design is very reminiscent of Victorian architecture. Some of my favourite buildings in this period were built with these materials, including London’s Crystal Palace, pictured above. This stunning piece of architecture was built in London’s Hyde Park to host the Great Exhibition of 1851. At the time of its construction, it included the most amount of glass ever used in a building. Resultantly, there was little need for interior lights as there was an abundance of natural lighting – hence Crystal Palace. Following the exhibition, the building was reconstructed in South London suburb, Sydenham Hill. It stood there until 1936 when it was sadly destroyed by a fire.
The design which was revolutionised in the industrial age still holds some inspiration for modern times. Windows made from steel and glass can work very well, especially in industrial inspired interiors. The thick steel lines which break up the extent of the glass add an interesting touch to the transparency. Below, I have selected some beautiful instances of this:
The photo above has given me a severe case of window envy. I absolutely love the use of the circular window in this home. Perhaps this is an expression of my deep yearning to live on a submarine, but I find round windows to be far more effective than the standard rectangular ones. They are visually more interesting as they don’t follow the contours of typically straight building structures. This makes them more of a focal point. I’m very fond of the axis-like opening that this particular window has too. It could be slightly dangerous for passersby outside, but sometimes aesthetics should come well above health and safety…
When the yearning comes for getting away from the hectic reality of modern life, few places will satiate the desire better than the Tree Hotel in Sweeden. Designed by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, the 4x4x4 metre ‘Mirrorcube’ consists of a lightweight aluminium frame hung from a tree trunk. The structure is dressed up with reflective glass, which mirrors the natural environment outdoors and camouflages the hotel room.
Within the cube, the room is decorated in rustic, understated plywood and caters for two people. We may be touching on Tardis territory when I tell you that within this seemingly petite cube, there is a double bed, a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room and a roof terrace (not technically within!). All of this is accessed via a 12 metre bridge.
The main selling point of this novel hotel room surely has to be the 360º panoramic view of the beautiful natural surroundings that the guests have. Elevated and secluded with sights of lakes and mountains, this hotel room is design at its best.
This house in the leafy area of Maastricht, Netherlands is one of the coolest glass houses that I’ve seen. Designed by Wiel Arets Architects, the house consists of interior and exterior walls made entirely of opaque and transparent glass.
The differing opacity of the glass means that different lighting effects are created within the house dependent on the time of day and what season it is. Curtains in the house add to this effect and also offer a degree of privacy.
There are a few rectangular columns inside the house which are used to support the structure of the two concrete slabs that the house is built upon. They are situated so as to not disrupt the minimal feel of the interior.
The house was designed for an actor and a dancer who work together as landscape architects. The garden at the back of the house is a perfect place for them to carry out this work. The garden is occasionally open to the public too.