Optical Glass House, Hiroshima, Japan
'Should we wish to lift our culture to a higher level, then we are obliged, for better or worse, to transform our architecture. We shall only succeed in doing this when we remove the element of enclosure from the rooms in which we live. We can only do this, however, with glass architecture, which allows the light of the sun, moon, and stars to enter not merely through a few windows set in the wall’
Paul Scheerbart, Glasarchitektur, 19141
The aspiration to create a crystalline architecture has long inspired architects in the modern era. From Bruno Taut’s Glashaus at the 1914 German Werkbund Exhibition, to Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre, to Kengo Kuma’s Water/Glass House (AR March 2000), glass has had the transformative power to shape space, as it is technically both a solid and liquid with extremely high viscosity. The glass house has once again been ingeniously reinvented through the use of an optical glass facade by Hiroshi Nakamura.
In the decade since working for Kengo Kuma, Nakamura has continued his mentor’s pursuit of ‘particle-ised’ architecture through his hypersensitivity toward materials based on a ‘microscopic designing methodology’.2 His first independent commission was the Lanvin boutique in Tokyo’s high-fashion district of Ginza in which its steel-plate facade was punctured with 3,000 acrylic cylinders that animate the interior with shimmering dots of natural light.
1. Paul Scheerbart, Glasarchitektur, Der Sturm Verlag, 1914; Rogner & Bernhard, 1971, p25.
2. Hiroshi Nakamura, Microscopic Designing Methodology INAX Publishing, 2010.