Oh, to live in a house made of glass, floating above field and marsh. In the mid-twentieth century, architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson dazzled the world with their crystal creations, and contemporary architects have built upon the idea.
These practically invisible houses merge daily living with the great outdoors. Its occupants are liberated from walls—and from privacy. But, let’s get down to basics. Yes, glass houses do have bathrooms, and even closets. It takes a clever architect to hide these things so well!
Whether you love the beauty of glass or are simply curious about the logistics of living transparently, you really must see these amazing homes:
- The Farnsworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe, Plano, Illinois
- The Glass House designed by Philip Johnson, New Canaan, Connecticut
- The Miller House designed by Richard Neutra, Palm Springs, California
[Photo Above: Philip Johnson’s Glass House ©JackieCraven, all rights reserved]
In the early part of the 20th century, Arts & Crafts furniture-maker Gustav Stickley had a radical vision for a boy’s school on a farm in northern New Jersey. He bought land in Morris Plains, NJ, about 35 miles from New York City to build a home for his family and to establish his Utopian school.
In 1908, Stickley told readers of The Craftsman magazine “…for the first time I am applying to my own house, and working out in practical detail, all the theories which so far I have applied only to the houses of other people.”
Stickley’s home is now a museum open for tours. Plan to stay a couple hours so you can stroll the grounds.
Learn about Craftsman Farms and Stickley Museum >
As soldiers returned from World War II, Art and Architecture magazine challenged architects to design modern, affordable “case study” homes using inexpensive and practical materials and techniques developed during the war.
More than two dozen prominent architects and designers took the challenge, including the husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames. Experimenting with modern materials, the couple designed Case Study House #8 to meet their needs as working artists.
Ray and Charles Eames moved into their Case Study house in December 1949 and lived there for the remainder of their lives. Today, the grounds are open to tourists, and interior tours can also be arranged.
You will find Case Study House #8 at 203 Chautauqua Boulevard in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
Learn about Charles and Ray Eames >>
You don’t have to be an Elvis Presley fan to enjoy visiting the rock star’s haunts. From Graceland Mansion in Memphis,Tennessee to his mid-century modern Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs, California, an “Elvis tour” will take you to some grand (some might say ostentatious) homes, with stops at humble structures like the Mississippi shotgun style house where Elvis was born.
Elvis Presley’s Life in Architecture >>
Australia is famous for breathtaking architecture like the Sydney Opera House, but travel beyond the urban centers and you’ll find the kinder, gentler design of Glenn Murcutt. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning architect is fond of quoting the Aboriginal proverb: “Touch the earth lightly.”
Instead of designing skyscrapers and grand public buildings, Murcutt specializes in modest, earth-friendly houses that blend with the Australian landscape.
Let’s look at a few of Glenn Murcutt’s important projects:
Learn more about Glenn Murcutt >>
Build Your House the Murcutt Way >>