Don’t Look Down: 18 Projects That Have You Walking on Glass

The following projects still manage to strike a balance between awe and apprehension.

Luke Barley Luke Barley

 Architizer's 11th Annual A+Awards is open for entries! With a Final Entry Deadline of January 27th, 2023, the clock is ticking — get started on your submission today.

Integrating glass into structural flooring has long been a method used by architects to lend an air of drama and tension to architectural projects. From a young age, our interactions with the material are often fraught with danger. Everyone has broken something made of glass, confronting its physical properties and inherent hazards head on.

Despite their more modest scale, the following projects still manage to strike a balance between awe and apprehension, heightening the experiential drama of the buildings by using glass on the horizontal rather than the vertical plane.

© dmvA

© dmvA

House VVDB by dmvA Architecten, Mechelen, Belgium

The House VVDB was designed and built by architect Jan Van den Berghe for himself. He tapped dmvA Architecten for renovations, and part of the brief was adding transparency to the home. This stipulation was achieved by puncturing the floor with structural glass circles.

© Hernandez Silva Architects

© Hernandez Silva Architects

Paredes Tres Ocho House by Hernandez Silva Arquitectos, Jalisco, Mexico

It was important to the architects that the materials feel lighter as the inhabitants moved vertically through the home. As the stairs rise through the building, they begin to lose their physicality, eventually becoming nearly transparent at the top floor.

New Acropolis Museum by Bernard Tschumi Architects, Athens, Greece; photo credit: © Peter Mauss/Esto via Architect Magazine

Glass flooring allows museum-goers to view the ancient foundations on which the New Acropolis Museum is built, creating a functional means of exhibiting otherwise hidden history.

© Hernandez Silva Architects

© Hernandez Silva Architects

PENTHOUSE PPDG by Hernandez Silva Arquitectos, Guadalajara, Mexico

This powder room/bathroom situation was created by cleverly incorporating the void of a never-used elevator shaft to dramatic and exciting ends.

© METAFORM architects

© METAFORM architects

Row House in Goeblange by Metaform,Goeblange, Luxembourg

The clear glass of this floor allows natural light to reach the ground floor unimpeded by bothersome wooden floors.

AIGA Headquarters by Biber Architects, New York City, USA

The design brief for this office space renovation called for visually connecting floors of an existing office building. “Fortuitously, the second level originally had been the building’s top floor and once held skylights that were covered as upper stories were added. Taking advantage of this preexisting condition, the openings were reestablished and crossed with a pair of glass bridges and a section of illuminated glass floor.”

© Wiel Arets Architects

© Wiel Arets Architects

Jellyfish House by Wiel Arets Architects, Marbella, Spain

Combining two dramatic design features into one amazing project, the architects of the Jellyfish House put a glass-bottomed pool into a large cantilever overhanging the main volume of the house. “Located in Marbella, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, the Jellyfish House’s neighboring buildings block its view onto the nearby sea. Appropriately, it was chosen to cantilever the house’s pool from its roof so that the beach and sea can always be seen while sunbathing or swimming.”

© TOPOS Architects, Inc

© TOPOS Architects, Inc

Glass Townhouse by TOPOS Architects, Inc, Palo Alto, Calif., USA

The homeowner of this project had one goal: to bring light to the ground floor. The architects accomplished this by various means, primarily making the second floor landing out of glass, allowing for natural light to penetrate the interior.

© Alterstudio Architects

© Alterstudio Architects

Bouldin House by Alterstudio Architects, Austin, Texas, USA

The feeling of openness found in the American West was achieved in this compact home by incorporating glass floors.

© Martín Lejarraga _ Architects

© Martín Lejarraga _ Architects

Centre for Supervision and Analysis of the Navy Databy Martín Lejarraga _ Architects, Cartagena, Spain

This thoughtful renovation unearthed the earlier architecture that had been covered through previous construction phases, incorporating it into the design of building.

CORNLOFTS by VRTIŠKA • ŽÁK, Prague, Czech Republic

The “main dominating feature of the flat is a glass floor visually interconnecting the second and third floor,” also making for a heart-racing game of foosball.

© METAFORM architects

© METAFORM architects

Luxembourg Apartment by Metaform, Luxembourg

The red chair perched on this glass landing seems to be the perfect place to ponder the void below … or within.

© In situ

© In situ

Cetatuia Loftby Ion Popusoi, Brasov, Romania

The architect of this project sought to dematerialize the physical nature of the interior, getting rid of all nonessential elements to give a clear perception of the space.

© Ike Kligerman Barkley

© Ike Kligerman Barkley

Wilton Residence by Ike Kligerman Barkley, Wilton, Conn., USA

The use of glass flooring for this catwalk creates a dramatic promenade to the bedroom.

Millennium Loft by MusaDesign, Seattle, Wash., USA

The solid, butcher-block wood flooring is juxtaposed with a manufactured glass section, creating a dynamic interplay between materials.

© Charles Correa Associates

© Charles Correa Associates

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknownby Charles Correa Associates, Lisbon, Portugal

This project stretches the use of glass as a structural material thanks to the incorporation of DuPont SentryGlas as a building material. There are all kind of technical reasons why SentryGlas is as strong as it is. The basic principle boils down to proprietary manufacturing techniques dealing with the lamination, resulting in incredibly strong, structural glass.

© Emilio Alberti

© Emilio Alberti

Baroque Church of Santo Stefanoby Emilio Alberti, Vicenza, Italy

Glass tiles are used in the restoration of this church to provide views of the original floor below, which includes burial plots.

 Architizer's 11th Annual A+Awards is open for entries! With a Final Entry Deadline of January 27th, 2023, the clock is ticking — get started on your submission today.

Additional reporting by Paul Keskeys and edits by Hannah Feniak.

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