Glass House

Glass House

OFIS arhitekti

Gorafe, Granada, Spain | View Map
Année du projet
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OFIS arhitekti

Guardian Glass
© Courtesy of Guardian Glass, photo - Gonzalo Botet

Glass House

OFIS arhitekti en tant que Architectes.

Initiated by Guardian Glass the glass house designed by OFIS arhitekti in collaboration with AKT ll structural engineers and Transsolar climate engineering creates comfortable living space with low energy consumption in the desert.


The Glass House is a research prototype for a comfortable if elementary retreat in a tense juxtaposition with harsh surrounding environment.

The project, initiated by Guardian Glass is challenging thermal and structural abilities of glass. Instead of focusing only in “a glass as a window element” the concept explored its advanced potentials, e.g. transparent but shading element, a thin but thermally efficient envelope that is also the sole structural support.

This project is a response to the local, desert climate conditions. It is about both passive design and renewable energy generation. The building's footprint contains every element that makes life possible from energy production to waste water treatment, while maintaining a comfortable interior only surrounded by a stunning, uninterrupted 360‎° views.


The Glass House will be the setting of a 1-week retreat for a single person or a couple. The guests will be selected from different tourist sharing platforms. The internal space is organized in 3 parts: bedroom, living area and bathroom with sanitary core in the middle with all of the spaces opening towards the porch which is a covered and shaded external platform that is protected from the sun and wind.


The unit uses the vertical glazing panels of the envelope as structural walls, resisting the desert’s high-speed winds and supporting the timber stressed skin roof and deck. The glass thermally efficient envelope is constructed of triple glazing walls that, due to use of almost invisible coatings, protects the interior from the sun.

Excerpt from AKT II structural engineers: “This is the third iteration of our collaboration in research and design with OFIS Architects, continuing our exploration into the intrinsic structural nature of glass and timber. Set in the harsh weather conditions of Spain’s Gorafe desert, the unit uses the vertical glazing panels of the envelope as structural walls, resisting the desert’s high-speed winds and supporting the timber stressed skin roof. Our Envelopes team developed bespoke details to accommodate the structural function of the glazing, and supported the client during the procurement phase.”

Excerpt from Transsolar climate engineers "The key objective was to design a house with minimal ecological footprint, which could provide an optimized thermal comfort and low energy demand to be self-sufficient. Hence, different architectural approaches where tested based on energy consumption and thermal comfort during the design process of the desert house.

The final autarchy design solution features both, passive and active solutions. The passive design is driven by shading during harsh summer periods in order to protect against solar radiation. Whereas the active design elements – like photovoltaic cells – utilizes the local climate conditions to produce renewable energy. In short: high comfort – low impact as design drivers, developed and optimized to the local climate challenges and potentials.’’

La Casa del Desierto

Guardian Glass en tant que Fabricants.


A desert. A house. A range of special glass types and a team of skilled professionals. This is “La Casa del Desierto” (the desert house). One of Guardian Glass's most exclusive, demanding, risky, creative and efficient projects, was recently completed in Spain with a clear objective: to demonstrate first hand and in situ across the four seasons of the year, the importance of glass in our daily life, and in one of the toughest environments you could ever imagine!

Challenging nature and designed to withstand the Gorafe Desert (Province of Granada, Spain), which is considered one of the most adverse and extreme environments in Europe, La Casa del Desierto stands on a wooden structure and is fully glazed with high performance, energy-efficient Guardian Glass. Covering only 20m², the layout consists of three areas: bedroom, bathroom and living room. A large space directly overlooking the landscape, La Casa also has a water filtration system, an energy generation system and a set of photovoltaic panels.

The design is the result of the combined efforts of a large and experienced team of architects led by Spela Videcnik of OFIS Architects – together with Guardian Glass specialists and engineers and energy consultants from AKT II and Transsolar. The vision is to meet current and future challenges of architecture and construction, promoting environmentally friendly and energy efficient structures. A project where the glass type used to enclose each space has a direct impact, demonstrating that it is possible to transform the interior environment of a home by selecting the most appropriate glass for each situation.

The window glazing in a home helps save energy, improves the thermal and acoustic insulation of the inner spaces and can even increase the level of security against impact or attempted burglary. Ultimately, when selected according to the specific needs of each case, glazing ensures that a building is a practical and comfortable home regardless of where it is located. What's more, Guardian Glass, in addition to having the right product portfolios, has the tools to easily specify products, while providing advice and guidance along the way. With the help of high performance Guardian Glass glazing, architects and interior designers from around the world can design and enhance the great indoors.

The location: the Gorafe Desert

Located in the northern part of the region of Guadix, in the province of Granada, Andalusia, the desert of Coloraos de Gorafe owes its name to the shades of its red sandstone and to the diversity of rock formations in the area shaped by the peculiarities of the erosion system and the lack of vegetation.

Thousands of years of erosion have created the “Badlands”, so called because of their extreme aridity and ravine-like appearance. Canyons, gullies, ravines, canals and other similar geological formations compose the general landscape of this desert, which is considered one of Europe's most adverse environments.

The experts talk about “La Casa del Desierto”

Spela Videcnik, architect at OFIS Architects: “How we can create a home with a comfortable atmosphere in harsh conditions such as a desert, is what we find most exciting. On the other hand, the landscape is beautiful, it is a perfect hideaway or escape from this type of city life, so we wanted to create a comfortable environment for someone to be alone (...) Hoping to work together to demonstrate that we can create a glass house in the desert that can provide a comfortable environment.”

Markus Krauss, climate engineer at Transsolar: “What was my first thought? Something like… Oh my God! It's going to be quite hot. And the second was… well, that should make an interesting challenge.”

Tomás Kovács, Head of Technical Advice, Guardian Glass: “This will be a completely stand alone house. It has no external sources of energy, electricity or gas. (…) The goal of this project is to show that, with the right glass, the great indoors can be created anywhere. (…) It will be a very demanding test for the glass.”

Miguel Pérez Navarro, mayor of Gorafe: “The first time I heard about this project, I was baffled. It may seem crazy at first, because it is about building something like a greenhouse in a desert, where on top of it all, the traditional houses are cave houses, which were originally excavated by the locals to adapt to this extreme climate.”

Crédits de projet
Climate engineering
Structure and envelope
Electrical engineering
General contractor
Produits utilisés dans le cadre de ce projet
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