Sliding house close up

Glass houses are undeniably beautiful, but completely impractical for most of us. English architects dRMM came up with a brilliant and unconventional way to solve most of the problems that plague glass homes. The Sliding House in Suffolk incorporates a 20-ton roof enclosure that slides to either expose or cover up the glass house.

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Sliding House fully closed
Sliding House in progress
Sliding House fully extended

When the cover is closed, the home looks like any any other, but with a modern glass front. When it slides back to expose the entire house, it becomes clear that all of the walls and ceiling are made of bright, clear glass.

Sliding house bathroom
Sliding house inside glass

Along with exposing the glass walls, the open sliding roof opens up to show a rooftop terrace with an outdoor bathtub. The tub allows the residents to bathe beneath the bright blue sky or the twinkling stars.

Sliding House volumes

After sliding all the way closed to cover the home, the cover moves forward a bit more to form a small shelter in front of the home’s facade. Here, the residents can comfortably enjoy the outdoors shaded from the sun or partially protected from the elements.

Sliding house inside
Sliding house diagram

Hidden electric motors powered by solar panels move the cover back and forth. The residents, a retired couple who moved to the rural location to grow their own food, view the glass-walled home as a way to genuinely enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

“The brief was a self-build house to retire to in order to grow food, entertain and enjoy the landscape. The site offered a combination of rolling England and agricultural Holland, restrained by stringent local Planning parameters for rural development. A genuine appreciation of vernacular farm buildings shared by architect and client/builder led to an unique take on the local timber framed and clad ‘shed’ idiom.”

“The outcome is three conventional building forms with unconventional detailing, radical performance, and a big surprise. A linear building of apparent simplicity is sliced into three programmes; house, garage and annexe. The garage is pulled off axis to create a courtyard between the three. The composition is further defined by material and colour; red rubber membrane and glass, red and black stained larch.”

“The surprise: the separated forms are transformed by a 20 ton mobile roof/wall enclosure which traverses the site, creating combinations of enclosure, open-air living and framing of views according to position. This is an autonomous structure; steel, timber, insulation and unstained larch spanning recessed railway tracks. Movement is powered by hidden electric motors on wheels integrated into the wall thickness. The tracks can be extended in the future should the client wish to build a swimming pool, which may need occasional shelter.”