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Originally designed in 1991 as an urban housing prototype for a competition by architect Yung Ho Chang of Atelier FCJZ, the Vertical Glass House was eventually realized 22 years later and built in Shanghai. Taking inspiration from typical glass houses of the modernist period, the house resembles a 90-degree rotation of these forms, instead focusing on spirituality through the sky and the ground. The studio explains:

“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.”

Built vertically in layers, the overall footprint of the house is just 40 square meters. The internal structure consists of an internal skeleton made from a single steel column vertically running through the center of the house, as well as crisscrossing joists that dissect each floor into quarters. One quarter of each floor houses a steel spiral staircase that leads from the basement to the double-height second level, while the rest of the floor is made up of glass panels. The internal concrete walls are cast against a sanded wooden facade, with narrow horizontal slits in the walls allowing extra light to enter, as well as lighting fixtures which create stripes of light at night.

Words by Marta Sundac
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