10 homes that make use of expansive glazed facades
Joe Fletcher

10 homes that make use of expansive glazed facades

26 Oct 2023  •  Specification  •  By Gerard McGuickin

Window design plays a key role in determining the outward appearance of a building. German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House, with its expansive windows and uninterrupted flow, is a wonderful example of the architectural use of glass in a home (in spite of its issues with privacy and temperature control at the time). Nowadays, windows are increasingly built with performance in mind, notably thermal performance, structural integrity, noise reduction, and protection against the elements. High quality window systems will positively affect energy efficiency — investing in windows with a low U-Value will help to ensure heat remains inside and does not escape on cold days. In the UK, for example, “extremely high performance windows with insulated frames” is one of the factors required in order to achieve the Passivhaus Standard.

Perhaps more personally and poetically, windows offer a view to the world outside — a connection with one’s surroundings and a moment of escape. Moreover, without any technical wizardry, they simply provide access to natural light and fresh air.


The following homes make use of expansive glazed facades, balancing performance, design, and an open outlook.


1. Dune House 

photo_credit © Filip Dujardin
© Filip Dujardin
Designed by Marc Koehler Architects, Dune House sits on the island of Terschelling in the northern Netherlands. The home’s upper level floor-to-ceiling windows recline, offering views across the North Sea and ensuring the interior benefits from natural light.
photo_credit Iwan Baan
Iwan Baan

Sited on a narrow plot in Brooklyn, New York, Narrow House was designed by Only If. An infill development, the home’s main design issue related to maximizing daylight and circulation. Internally, the home has an open-plan layout, free of walls, rooms, and corridors. Large windows on the front and rear of the house ensure the interior benefits from natural light and air circulation.


3. Miner Road 

photo_credit Joe Fletcher
Joe Fletcher

In Orinda, California, Faulkner Architects designed the Miner Road property for two environmental scientists. A large proportion of the development’s construction budget was allocated to insulation and glazing, with an emphasis on reducing heating and cooling loads.


4. Landaburu Borda

photo_credit Jose Hevia
Jose Hevia
photo_credit Jose Hevia
Jose Hevia

Designed by Jordi Hidalgo Tané, Landaburu Borda is located in Navarre, Spain, a place noted for its sweeping mountain vistas. Jordi Hidalgo Tané extended a small traditional house, creating a subterranean annex as part of the mountain. The annex is accessed via a glazed corridor and a glass wall runs along its entire length, providing extensive views.


5. Aqua Verde Residence

photo_credit Chase Daniel Photo Design
Chase Daniel Photo Design

The Aqua Verde Residence in Austin, Texas, by Clark Richardson Architects is an example of an architectural approach to indoor–outdoor living. Here, highly durable moving “glass walls” blend indoor–outdoor spaces, framing a panoramic vista, and flooding the property with fresh air and natural light. 


6. Maison à la Capite

photo_credit Olivier di Giambattista
Olivier di Giambattista

In the small village of Vésenaz on the outskirts of Geneva, Swiss architectural studio Lacroix Chessex completed a contemporary renovation of “Maison à la Capite”, a traditional and characterful home. A contemporary rear extension across two levels features expansive facade windows.


7. Wuehrer House 

photo_credit © Nic Lehoux
© Nic Lehoux
photo_credit © Nic Lehoux
© Nic Lehoux

Designed by Jerome Engelking, Wuehrer House in East Hampton, New York, sits on a secluded site, surrounded by nature preserves. The home’s generous and open structure is made using a repetitive module and a minimal use of materials: glass, wood, and concrete. Natural light is a prominent element that very much defines the space.


8. Residential House in Kaunas 

photo_credit Lukas Mykolaitis
Lukas Mykolaitis

This residential house in Kaunas, Lithuania, was designed by Architectural Bureau G.Natkevicius & Partners. An expansive glass wall demarcates indoor and outdoor living spaces. 


9. Valley Villa

photo_credit Norbert Tukaj
Norbert Tukaj

In Vilnius, Lithuania, the Valley Villa by Arches is surrounded by parkland. Windows are a key feature of the home — those on the ground floor are partly covered by slim vertical wooden slats that help to minimize the sun’s heat and glare. The windows are thermally insulated and provide a clean integration between indoor and outdoor spaces.


10. House 13 

photo_credit Insada Integrated Design Team
Insada Integrated Design Team

Designed by INSADA Integrated Design Team, House 13 is located in West Jakarta. Addressing the client’s desire to minimize the use of air conditioning, House 13 is designed in a way that encourages natural ventilation. Blocked on three sides by neighboring properties, INSADA had only the home’s south-facing facade to work with. In order to bring light and air into the house, the facade comprises a low-e glass curtain wall with a sliding glass door. (On the opposite side of the house, a skylight equipped with ventilation bricks helps to facilitate the flow of air.)