hiroshi nakamura & NAP: optical glass house
hiroshi nakamura & NAP: optical glass house hiroshi nakamura & NAP: optical glass house
jan 21, 2013

hiroshi nakamura & NAP: optical glass house

the lot is very close to a busy road and major intersection in the buslting city of hiroshima, with a constant sound-scape of revving engines and screeching trams. japenese practice hiroshi nakamura & NAP therefore created an acoustically protected tranquil oasis behind a crystal curtain that would still allow views of the city. this buffer space is a beautiful living filter; the impressive glass block facade resting over the wooden garage and entry area conceal behind it a green garden whose trees filter the eastern sunlight and offer a natural haven which all rooms in the program face. the effect is a visually busy exterior environment observed from the silence of the home.



a walkthrough of the house
video © hiroshi nakamura (main image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners)



the transparent wall was not an easy task, however, as 6,000 glass masonry units at 50 mm wide do not provide the necessary structure to stand on their own. seventy-five threaded metal dowels hang from the pre-tensioned beam above the 8.6 m2 facade to guide the glass bricks into perfectly aligned rows, supported by an embedded flat metal bar (40 mm x 4 mm) spaced at 10 cm intervals to help resist lateral forces. the total construction of the optical wall weighs 13 tons and gives the effect of a waterfall refracting views and light.

(left) street-side facade
(right) glass block texture from the exterior
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

optical effects of the glass block facade
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

front garden
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

reflecting pool and trees make resemble a natural environment
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

8.6 x 8.6m glass block facade
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

shown with human scale
image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP

living room opened with retractable glass sections
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

view towards the garden
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

dining area
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

cabinets and storage hidden in the wall
image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP

(left) stairs
(right) entrance vestibule
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

bedroom looking out towards garden
image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

image © koji fujii / nacasa & partners

glass casting from borosilicate
image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP

slow cooling process resolved internal stress in the block
image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP

image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP

a complete glass block, with micro-level surface asperities
image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP

metal plate is embedded into the block
image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP

assembly of the glass masonry wall
image © hiroshi nakamura & NAP



site plan

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level 1

floor plan / level 3


glass block construction detail



project info:



project name: optical glass house
main purpose: housing
design: hiroshi nakamura & nap co.,ltd.
structure design: yasushi moribe
contractor: imai corporation
location: naka-ku, hiroshima-shi, hitroshima, japan
site area: 243.73m2
total floor area: 363.51m2
completion year: march,2012
structure:  reinforced concrete structure

  • The japanese are amazing. They are 100 years ahead,)))

    Ikumu says:
  • uma das residencias mais belas que ja vi !

  • Those Japanese……………..
    Another beautiful and usefull house!

    gerald says:
  • construction of the glass and how it is hung – one of the most beautiful interior gardens ever- wow! beautiful and very practical.

    christina read says:
  • amazing!

    twny says:
  • That is beautiful……

    seanc says:
  • brilliant!

    mArkW says:
  • lovely

    slightly reminiscent of La Maison de Verre

    dbkii says:
  • Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet must be proud ! I really wouldn’t mind spending my time cleaning this house’s façade, I’d be rewarded by it’s fascinating beauty 🙂
    Thank you for bringing a ray of sunshine into my snowy evening db !

    Romain says:
  • brilliant und sinnlich

    René Düsel says:
  • Very very beautiful! true architecture. 🙂

    Bonobo says:
  • Beautiful. love it all. The glass is great. Very tranquil environment.

    beble says:
  • awesome…!

    Double D says:
  • Ahhh, just stunning! What an effort to make all these glass tiles by hand! True craftsmanship!

    Andrea Ventling says:
  • Problem solved in the most elegant and brilliant way! Only needs applause.

    GABA says:

    BOR says:
  • Muito Bonita

    José Kuski says:
  • Such elegant architecture, fantastic job!

    Marloes says:
  • Awesome House. Absolutely in love with that garden space….!

    Kanika says:
  • Great execution, materials and design. Love this house!

    CHS says:
  • Love the maple in the garden~

    Ming says:
  • Awesome! It looks beautiful. Looks like I could perhaps execute my design for my Eagle Heights Financial tower with a glass façade too!

    LincolnHo says:
  • simple and amazing

    asher philip says:
  • The courtyard is simply spectacular.

    justin says:
  • Absolutely Amazing. I am stunned by the light filtering through the trees the views from inside to outside areas that are within the confines of the residence the materials and the scale. The glass facade provides some level of sound control, it lets in light and a filtered view that makes the street seem more removed from the residence.
    A knockout!

    Ron Smith says:
  • Sensibilidade

    Manoela J. says:
  • I truly have no words for this amazing piece of poetry!

    Sheerja says:

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