Japanese design incorporates a wall designed to allow natural light in while keeping street noise out.
Designing residential spaces for urban living faces many challenges. Most notably is the problem of controlling natural sunlight and noise levels from nearby streets. Japanese architecture firm Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP designed the Optical Glass House in Hiroshima that presents a unique solution to this well-trotted design problem.
The home incorporates 6,000 glass blocks which work towards the design goal of soundproofing the home while still providing light and scenic views to the outdoors. The 13 ton facade gives tenants a view of the outdoors while also enabling passer-bys to see the internal garden through the glass brick wall. An important feature of the glass wall is the complex casting process it underwent. According to the project description:
Glass casting was employed to produce glass of extremely high transparency from borosilicate, the raw material for optical glass. The casting process was exceedingly difficult, for it required both slow cooling to remove residual stress from within the glass, and high dimensional accuracy… employing steel frame reinforced concrete, we pre-tensioned the steel beam and gave it an upward camber.
The end result of the creative process is an elegant architectural solution that is both beautiful and highly functional for urban living. Watch a walk-through of the architectural work in the video below: