6 World’s Most Beautiful Glass Architecture

  March 23, 2012

So future Apple would be made out of glass, only. Maybe it’s too much to say Apple is already near the idea but ultimately what they wanted to do in iPhone4 design is obviously, a sheet of glass.
It’s not only Apple that are obsessed with the beauty and simplicity of glass, but Architects has built a number of “glass box” since the era of Mies van Der Loo. Today sometimes they are called “Skin Architecture”, with a little irony. For those who never heard the term, think of Lois Vuitton building in Manhattan, which is designed by Jun Aoki or google ‘Sanlitan Village Beijing’. They are typical examples, thus give you a general impression.
But in this post, I want you to appreciate the art, more genuine art. You are introduced to the best of the best of glass architecture in the world.

Bregenz Museum (Bregenz, Austria) – peter zumthor (Switzerland)

Located beside the shiny Boden lake in the North West of Switzerland, Bregenz is a charming small town, which still retains it’s beautiful traditional townscape. Bregenz Art Museum is a glass box standing beside the lake. Whole outer surface was cover by 2 layers of glasses. If you ask me, it’s iMac G3 of architecture except this is much more sublime.

Tosei-An (Kyoto, Japan) – Yamaguti Jun(Japan)

Tosei-An is an annex of the Buddhism temple in Kyoto. It accomondates a training room for monks, including a sleeping space, and kitchen. This can be considered as a part of the white gravel garden, the essential elements of Zen Buddhism temple, with spaces under the garden surface.

Mediatheque Sendai (Sendai, Japan) – Ito Toyoh (Japan)

Unlike the two glass architecture above, Sedai Mediatheque is a complex, which accomondates a lot of different functions. Basically each floor is used for a different purpose and has unique interior. Therefore when you look from outside to see through what’s going on inside, you’ll see different activities with different colors are piled up like a hamburger. When you see the model, you’ll find this is more of Slave and Tube (=column) architecture than a glass-skinned architecture, yet, the amazingly well-designed details make it possible to ruin the concept of openness (in Architect’s word, this design is supposed to create ‘forest’).

Arab World Institute (Paris, France) – Jean Nouvel (France)

Contrary to his appearance, Jean Nouvel designs architecture like a factory. Inside this gorgeous skin is a ridiculously well-organized functional space. Maybe he is the most Apple like architect, since decoration in this minimal form can only be realized when anything unnecessarily was eliminated while everything necessary has functionally designed.

Cartier Foundation (Paris, France) – Jean Nouvel (France)

While the previous one is a interpretation of Muslim art into the form of modern architecture, this one represents a Nouvel’s recurring theme, Vanish. Reflection created by the glass walls, which stands a little distance away from the building itself spell magic on your eyes.

Toled Glass Museum (Toled, Spain) – SANAA (Japan)

SANAA’s design looks like very childish and easy to imitate, but if you try to do the same, you may end up with literally or disastrously childish doodle. Their design is a product of thousands upon thousands of trial and error, model making and site survey. Through that process every details are optimized by their sharp but wild intuitions. This is a kind of trying to do what Jean Nouvel did in Cartier Museum in interior. Sure that sounds like causing dizziness, but this is a glass museum, and this is SANAA’s design. Everything must be designed the way they should be.

PRADA (Tokyo, Japan) – Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland)

This PRADA building in Tokyo is in the same category with Sendai Mediatheque, since what matters in this is structure, not material. But like other architects in this list, H&D put additional effort to skin design to make this an eye-candy of the street of Tokyo.