Go ahead. You know you’ve wondered. At night, in the dark, can anyone passing by see in? The idea of living in a glass house is titillating, so don’t try to disguise your curiosity in platitudes of wanting to live closer to nature. Go camping if you crave that DEET-infused connection with Mother Nature. Glass houses or transparent dwellings offer a uniquely raw experience without giving up any comforts, so don’t be surprised if sleeping in the buff under a clear canopy tickles your prehistoric instincts. Test one out for yourself through Airbnb and experience a glass house like you live there.
Since jungles are the primal source of all living things, an essential glass house tour naturally begins in Brazil. This contemporary glass and wood Airbnb house nestled in the forests of Sao Paulo, Brazil overlooks Felix Beach and rents for $320 per night. A bargain with 4 bedrooms. Consider these stunning vistas of the sea through floor-to-ceiling glass panels and you’ll be swinging from the rafters like happy monkeys. Architects Vidal and Sant’Anna designed this house nestled unobtrusively into the hillside to preserve the surrounding environment, native ground vegetation and soil characteristics. Cross ventilating air chambers on the roofs and decks cool the house naturally without the need for air conditioning. You and the house will breathe as one.
If Jane and Tarzan don’t steal your heart, check out this modern 2-story urban tree house only five minutes from downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Each level is essentially its own unit with a separate bedroom, bathroom, and private entrance. At $500 per night, it’s an ideal urban retreat for two couples if you trust that glass walls don’t have prying eyes.
Perhaps the secret to a successful flirtation with transparency lies in venturing off-the-grid. Husband and wife team Linda Taalman and Alan Koch of Taalman Koch Architects found their ideal desert spot at the end of a 5-mile dirt road and built the prototype for a pre-engineered system with customization known as the iT house. It uses prefabricated structural components with customizable glass walls whereby owners can apply their own graphics. Airbnb offers the Taalman Koch off-the-grid house for $380 per night.
No wi-fi, no television, no AC, no problem. Solar panels are integrated into the structure and double as shade canopies. Think of this home as a living entity which responds to the movement of the sun. In the hot summers, closing all east-facing doors and opening all west-facing ones in the mornings creates a natural cooling system. Perform the reverse ritual in the afternoons as the sun moves west.
For an added refresh, guests at this secluded glass Airbnb in Pioneertown, California can order fresh daily juice delivery from the local Joshua Tree juice guru Angela de la Agua. Time your visit with the full moon and Angela will craft a special juice cleanse to enhance your stay during this most potent phase of the moon.
Speaking of moon phases, check out these modern bi-level stargazing domes in Chile. Astronomic hotels, also called astronomy resorts, are all the rage and Airbnb offers one of only seven worldwide. These two-story geodesic domes at ElquiDomos Astronomic Hotel are tucked into the Elqui Valley where the Chilean Andes range runs closest to the sea. The living room and bathroom are on the first floor and the main bed is on the second floor with a detachable roof. The design intention of ElquiDomos is to provide all the necessary comforts so as not to detract from the sensations created by such an intense stargazing experience. Rates start at $220 per night and can accommodate up to four people.
The first glass house design was by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1946 and 1951 for an independent professional woman, Dr. Edith Farnsworth. She wanted a weekend retreat for solitude and seclusion. Seemingly not a woman with a wild hair for building a glass love shack, Farnsworth was believed to have been thwarted in romance by Mies. Their relationship, professional or otherwise, ended with Mies suing Farnsworth for unpaid fees and Farnsworth counter-suing for a leaking roof. The dismal failure of this mid-century tryst casts an early shadow on love in glass houses. Nonetheless, the Farnsworth House subsequently influenced the creation of hundreds of modern glass houses.
For the fear factor junkies, Airbnb recently created the ultimate glass house promotional giveaway for one night inside a shark aquarium. The winners spent the night submerged to a depth of 33 feet in a bedroom surrounded by a 360-degree transparent wall amongst 35 circling sharks at L’Aquarium de Paris. Glass aquariums provide a great opportunity for people to observe fish behavior up close. But if the tables are turned, who’s observing whom? Thankfully the rules specified that selfies are forbidden after dark due to the sharks’ sensitivity to light. This Airbnb shark tank was a once in a lifetime opportunity and converted back into an observatory after the giveaway for marine biologists to further study the behaviors of sharks.
The modern experience of living in a transparent enclosure is a liberating sensation that can be comfortably experienced in any number of Airbnb selections. From jungle treehouses and urban bi-levels to mountain geodesic domes with removable roofs, what happens in glass houses stays in glass houses. Just don’t forget to turn off the lights at night and absolutely no selfies after dark.
(All photos courtesy of the Airbnb site unless otherwise noted. This story was created without Airbnb sponsorship or endorsement.)