Project name: The Glass House at Bellevue
Project location: Boulder, Colo.
Square footage: 8,516
The Glass House is designed to break through the constraints of what is possible in livable sculpture. To echo the edges of the Rocky Mountains, the architect crafted frameless Pilkington glass walls soaring outward. Structural integrity is ensured by three-story caissons.
Despite the large expanses of glass, energy usage is 44 percent less than the same structure built to code. This is due to comprehensive ground-source heating/cooling, low-E materials and rainwater collection systems. Each living space opens directly onto trails and native gardens. Seamless transitions are furthered through the incorporation of existing boulders as water features in Colorado’s arid climate. The Glass House is located in a prominent and visible location above Boulder, Colo., and directly adjacent to the nationally historically landmarked Chautauqua Historic District. The site is steeply sloping from west to east. Fluctuations in weather require versatility and durability of materials.
To address the steeply sloping site, the house is built into the hillside to reduce its massing and visual impact. East, west and north walls are composed principally of frameless, low-E Pilkington glass to extend the landscape into the boundaries of the home. An automated geothermal exchange system monitors temperature fluctuations to ensure comfort and energy efficiency.