Transparency makes a lot of things better: solar panels, micro chips, corporate finances. Houses, our private oases from busy life, are not typically something you want to be see-through. Pushing the boundaries of sustainable design, architect Carl Turner recently chose to cover his new house with semi-transparent glass instead of traditional siding. The effect is strangely seductive, as passers-by can make out hints of what might linger behind the glass.
Positioned delicately among a row of traditional Victorian houses, Turner’s “Slip House” is both understated and bold. The first thing one notices about the three-story residence is its staggered upper floors that cantilever towards the street. “We set out with a simple sculptural form of three cantilevered, or slipped, boxes,” Turner told Dezeen. “The upper box houses our living space, the middle box houses sleeping and bathing, and the ground box is given over to a multi-purpose space, currently housing our studio.”
The Slip House is built in the garden of a derelict house. In addition to the front gate and lower floors, the translucent glass panels extend up to form a barrier around the rooftop terrace and a set of photovoltaic solar panels that generate electricity. The house also features a wildflower roof above the ground floor, a rain water harvesting system and ‘energy piles’ that use a solar-assisted ground source heat pump integrated into the pile foundations.
Turner hopes that the Slip House can serve as a design incubator, a prototype of the way brownfield development can provide solutions for dense, flexible, urban living.
All photographs by Tim Crocker