13 Mind-Boggling Buildings With Mirrored Glass Exteriors

These reflective homes, cabins, and hotels seem to disappear into their surroundings.

In 2013, when a decaying wood shack in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park was transformed by visual and conceptual artist Phillip K. Smith III into the installation Lucid Stead, the internet went wild. Long, strip mirrors replaced alternating planks of the cabin, resulting in a space that was half there, and half not. Not too long after, another mysterious structure appeared in Coachella Valley: Part of the contemporary art exhibit Desert X, Doug Aitken’s Mirage was a ranch-style house completely clad in mirrors. 

The success of the two projects reflect (pun intended) the allure of mirrored glass as an architectural surface. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite mirrored exteriors.

A Mirrored Mexican Home Hides Among a Lush Forest

The Los Terrenos retreat in Monterrey, Mexico, was designed by Mexico City–based architect Tatiana Bilbao to reflect the lush woodland hillside it sits on. The dwelling consists of two volumes made of rammed earth, terra-cotta clay bricks, and a facade clad in mirrored glass.

Nestled within Verholy Relax Park in Sosnivka, Ukraine, these 860-square-foot guest cottages by YOD Design Lab feature terraces that wraps around the mirrored facades. The interiors are swathed in organic hues and materials to allow the views to be the focal point—each dwelling is arranged so that the windows peer at pines, rather than another building. The designers also installed the guesthouses on geo-screws in order to save the root systems of the surrounding trees—in turn, preventing them from getting cut down.

The Lake Cottage by Toronto-based architecture firm UUfie is a 700-square-foot cabin that mirrors the surrounding forest near Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes. The two-story structure, developed as a home extension, is camouflaged against a leafy landscape with one-way mirrored glass. The steeply pitched dwelling is UUfie’s take on a contemporary tree house with interior and exterior spaces that connect to mimic the experience of living among the branches of a tree.

To reflect the shifting hues of the desert sky and rugged landscapes of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, Chen + Suchart Studio built this family residence using coated glass and stainless steel over thick, sandblasted masonry walls. The 3,000-square-foot home was designed to take in a multitude of focal points from two different levels, allowing for both distant and local views. 

When the demand for a home office inspired architect Stephen Chung to add a second level to his Wayland, Massachusetts, residence, he decided to "experiment" with the addition, departing from the Cape Cod aesthetic that rules his block. The 1,100-square-foot adjunct, which encompasses the new office, principal suite, and fort for Chung’s two young sons, is swathed in mirrored siding and plate-glass windows that reflect the surrounding foliage.

Perched on a roof in a small city in the north of Holland, Mirror Mirror is a minimalist haven designed by Remco Siebring. Channeling the principles of a tree house, the extension is covered in mirrored glass to reflect the old contours of the house—as well as the nearby roofs, gardens, and trees. Inside, a monochrome, wood palette creates a clean sanctuary to take in the views. 

In Mexico City’s Cuauhtémoc neighborhood, the 36-room Hotel Carlota is teeming with work from emerging designers and young interior designers. An open courtyard with a pool and restaurant sits at the heart of the JSa Arquitectura–designed structure. On the exterior, the motel–turned–boutique hotel’s mirrored-glass facade allows it to reflect the bustle of the street.

Just outside of Tallinn, Estonia, this prefabricated, mirrored hotel from Estonian company ÖÖD is designed to blend into its surroundings. Reflective glass spans three sides of the steel structure, while the back wall consists of heat-treated wood. The interiors are clad in natural ash and come equipped with a queen-size bed, ergonomic kitchen area, and bathroom. 

Casa Etérea is an 807-square-foot dwelling and vacation rental designed by Prashant Ashoka, a Singaporean writer with no prior architectural experience. The V-shaped house sits on the slopes of an extinct volcano on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The exterior is clad in mirrored glass, allowing the volume to take on a transitional quality throughout different times of day and seasons.

Nestled in the rugged mountains of Maldonado, Uruguay, the Sacromonte Landscape Hotel by Montevideo–based firm MAPA Architects is comprised of a winery, a farm-to-table restaurant, and 13 prefabricated cabins with one-way mirrored facades. In addition to the use of prefab construction for minimal site impact, the modular steel-framed cabins are also fitted with low-E glass, green roofs, and are connected to an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system.

In Australia’s Kangaroo Valley, Madeleine Blanchfield Architects created the Kangaroo Valley Outhouse—a demountable cube wrapped in reflective glass that provides services for a small cabin available for overnight stays. The glass is mirrored on the outside but see-through on the inside. The interior features a freestanding tub and shower, as well as a toilet and hand sink.

Estonian brothers Andreas and Jaak Tiik of ÖÖD designed this 113-square-foot prefab to be easily installed on foundation screws, which don’t require digging or a concrete foundation. The floor-to-ceiling windows use mirrored glass that reflects 97 percent of direct sunlight, which means that a desk can be placed directly against the glass wall to take advantage of views and natural light without introducing glare to computer screens.

This mirrored prefab by the Estonian founders of ÖÖD was designed for the New Canaan Library’s Herman Miller for the Mirror House Auction in New Canaan, Connecticut. The mirrored structure, which drew inspiration from Philip Johnson’s Glass House, came fully furnished with iconic pieces donated by Herman Miller, including a 48-inch Nelson Platform Bench and 24-inch cushion, both by George Nelson. 


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