There are a few good rules of thumb to follow when owning and living in a house made of glass, and they don’t just involve throwing stones. Don’t play baseball in the front or backyard, don’t build a glass home near a golf course, and, most importantly, don’t forget to stock up on a supply of industrial-sized Windex—you’re going to need it.
Skyscraper architect Philip Johnson left a legacy of impressive buildings and skyscrapers, such as the Sony Building in Manhattan and Madrid’s improbably angled Puerta de Europa. But it’s his Glass House, in New Canaan, Connecticut, that is his most famous.
“Sure, it’s just a box of clear glass in the woods, but that simplicity makes this 1949-era house stand out as particularly beautiful,” says Rich Beattie, executive online editor at Travel + Leisure. Adding to the tiny home’s appeal is a collection of modern art collected by Johnson’s partner of 45 years, David Whitney, which is featured all over the home and its grounds.
Some glass abodes enjoy their wooded nooks, as the surrounding foliage allows for privacy, a notion with which all glass houses play. Case Study House #22 (also known as The Stahl House) takes a different approach, and, due to its location atop the mountains surrounding Los Angeles, opens itself up to the city skyline below. The home, designed by Pierre Koenig, was a product of Arts and Architecture magazine’s 1945 project to inspire famous building designers to create modern and affordable homes for G.I.s returning from the war.
Ultimately, the project was abandoned, deemed a utopian idea that ultimately proved impractical. It did, however, leave behind some beautiful “experiments.” Visitors are allowed to view the privately-owned home on weekends.