Imagine a world where new housing developments prohibit the use of solar panels because they're considered to be unsightly. Yeah, that happens, and when Texas-based architect Heather McKinney, of McKinney York Architects, began designing a house for her client in a new development area in Shavano Park, Texas, just outside San Antonio, the development’s design restrictions went from prohibiting photovoltaics to forbidding flat roofs and even dictating certain materials be used in construction.
But McKinney's client didn't want a McMansion or some sort of Tuscan Villa monstrosity, which would have fit right into the neighborhood. The client is a collector of Venetian glass, and, well, she wanted a simple glass house to showcase her collection.
The result is a 4,000-square-foot, one-story building spread out on its lot in a series of rectangular pavilions connected by glass linkages and wrapped around a pool, with a transparent center section that allows views through to other parts of the house and beyond.
It's all about clean lines, defined geometries, and dramatic moments to define the house--such as a dropped, Ipe-wood ceiling in the dining room and a fireplace that appears to float in an unexpected corner of the living space.
The house is mostly low-maintenance, but because the client’s love of glass was paramount to the house’s design, it was created to achieve a connection between her collection, lighting, and the changing patterns of incoming sunlight. Display cases with reconstituted Wenge wood cabinets beneath add to the geometry rather than detract or clutter it and bring warmth and contrast to the polished, concrete floors.
The client says, “It’s the house I wanted, and the house I asked for.”
Plus, it's also designed to be retrofitted for things like solar panels when the development realizes how beautiful they really are.