When briefing Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, the owners of the Glass Farmhouse in Eastern Oregon cited modernist master Philip Johnson’s translucent icon, the Glass House, as a point of reference. The architects duly delivered.
High-efficiency glass framed with steel forms three sides of the dramatically situated house, while the north elevation is a solid exterior wall. Inside the structure, the emphasis is on openness, with the only interruption being the central enclosure, which houses a bathroom, study and storage.
Beyond its aesthetic expression, the house possesses strong technical consideration. “The house rests on a concrete slab supported on a concrete foundation,” explain the architects. “In this way, the heat-absorbing and -releasing thermal mass is isolated from the ground plane. The window system combines transparency with energy efficiency. Heat loss and gain is managed largely by the orientation of the house: on the south side, an eyebrow, or light shelf, deflects midday summer sun but admits low-angle winter sunlight.”