Vertical Glass House, a four-story building in Shanghai, China, proves that architecture has the ability to be both inconspicuous and provocative. Designed by architect Yung Ho Chang of the firm Atelier FCJZ, the outside of this house has a very simple, unassuming concrete facade that’s broken only by a few small slits that emit light. By contrast, the roof is completely transparent, as is the inside of the house where the interior boasts tempered glass floors. Aside from the occasional panel to support things like the spiral staircase, each room of the house can be viewed by simply looking up or down. While innovative, this choice eliminates privacy and promotes voyeurism, even when using the bathroom, as the toilet and tub are both left uncovered.
The concept surrounding the house goes beyond just its construction and explores the spiritual effect it has on its inhabitants. “With enclosed walls and transparent floors as well as roof, the house opens to the sky and the earth, positions the inhabitant right in the middle, and creates a place for meditation.” Chang says of his design.
Vertical Glass House was originally built for an architecture competition in 1991, but was only constructed last year for the Shanghai West Bund Biennial Architecture and Contemporary Art exhibition. Currently, there is no one full time resident, and it is only used as the occasional guest house for visiting artists and architects.