Go Stargazing in This Off-Grid Glass Prefab Nestled in the Desert

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By Lucy Wang
An idyllic glass house that's perfect for stargazing offers a surprisingly comfortable immersion in one of Europe’s most extreme landscapes.

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. 

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Gorafe desert is known for its extreme temperatures and stunning rock formations. Thanks to the mirrored panels that clad the edges of the roof and deck, stunning views are available at every angle of this prefab rental.

Gorafe desert is known for its extreme temperatures and stunning rock formations. Thanks to the mirrored panels that clad the edges of the roof and deck, stunning views are available at every angle of this prefab rental.

"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. 

The near-invisible coatings on the glass protect the interior from solar gain.

The near-invisible coatings on the glass protect the interior from solar gain.

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. 

Once the prefabricated parts arrived from Slovenia, OFIS Architects assembled the structure within a week. 

Once the prefabricated parts arrived from Slovenia, OFIS Architects assembled the structure within a week. 

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 prefab house is completely off-grid.

The prefab house is completely off-grid.

The Y-shaped floor plan is designed to maximize the uninterrupted 360° viewing experience that takes places from the living area, bedroom, and sunken bathtub.

The sunken bathtub overlooks stellar panoramic views.

The sunken bathtub overlooks stellar panoramic views.

Here's a look at the central core from the bedroom, which houses storage.

Here's a look at the central core from the bedroom, which houses storage.

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.

The unit provides the ideal setting for those looking to disconnect.

The unit provides the ideal setting for those looking to disconnect.

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.

Curtains can be pulled along an integrated track for greater privacy or shade.

Curtains can be pulled along an integrated track for greater privacy or shade.

The bathroom is concealed behind a slim door.

The bathroom is concealed behind a slim door.

La Casa del Desierto will stay in place for at least a year.

La Casa del Desierto will stay in place for at least a year.

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.

The glass home is perfectly positioned for stargazing.

The glass home is perfectly positioned 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.

The house is temporarily located 15 minutes by car from Gorafe village.

The house is temporarily located 15 minutes by car from Gorafe village.

La Casa del Desierto floor plan

La Casa del Desierto floor plan

 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: OFIS arhitekti

General Contractor: Permiz

Structural Engineer/Civil Engineer: AKT II

Lighting Design: Transsolar

Other: Energovat

Other: SHN Constructora