Expecting comfort from a fully glazed home in a desert may seem improbable, but that’s exactly what’s promised in La Casa del Desierto, a temporary prefab rental by Slovenian studio OFIS Architects.
Built in collaboration with Guardian Glass, this isolated off-grid home tests the limits of high-performance, energy-efficient glazing in Spain’s beautiful and harsh Gorafe desert, where temperatures fall below freezing in winter and can soar over 100° Fahrenheit in summer.
"If you can build a glass building that resists these kinds of conditions you can build that building anywhere," says lead architect Spela Videcnik of OFIS Architects. Guardian Glass agrees, and put the architects to the task of using their high-performance glass to make an off-grid glazed structure that would always offer comfort, style, and panoramic views, no matter the location.
Construction on the approximately 215-square-foot La Casa del Desierto began in Slovenia, where parts were prefabricated before they were shipped to Spain. Once the home arrived, it was assembled within a week and set on a foundation of prefabricated concrete cubes.
Although highly insulated Guardian SunGuard glass wraps the exterior to provide protection from high-speed winds and solar gain, there is also unprotected glass that's used for the structural walls within to integrate a seamless living experience in the desert.
The timber floor extends beyond the glass walls to form a wraparound outdoor deck partly shaded by a timber roof that’s clad in mirrored panels.
Given its remote location, the house operates completely off the grid, as electricity needs are met by solar panels. Water is stored in a big tank, while wastewater is treated in a separate container that's buried beneath the home.
While the desert's extreme climates provide an ideal testing grounds for the high-performance glass, the location’s beauty was also a major draw for the project. Surrounded by views of wind-sculpted sandstone rock formations by day, the home also provides an ideal setting for stargazing.
Located just 15 minutes by car from Gorafe village, the La Casa del Desierto will be made available to rent via AirBnB in the next few months.
The glass structure will stay in Gorafe for at least one year for data collection, after which the structure will be moved to a new environment for further testing.