Ross School - Senior Projects 2012


Student: Max Rowen

Mentor: Matt Aldredge

Domain(s): Art/History

Faculty Grader: Ned Smyth




Documentation of Product


Title: The Glass Blown House


For my Senior Project, I designed a modern addition to a local house in East Hampton. My goal was to take the old carriage house that existed and produce a strikingly unique new modern addition. To do this I formed a fictional family, in which the husband and wife are glassblowers and they had two adolescent children. In the house I have included an extensive glassblowing studio and integrated the process and product of glassblowing into the design of the house. I wanted to utilize my own style of design in conjuncture with modern techniques to make a distinctive modern house. For my product I have created a hand drawn floor plan, multiple exterior elevations and a 3D model of the house.




(Add images, additional descriptions of techniques, design, etc see rubric)

Laying down the plexiglass exterior wall on the model


Matching the interior walls to the floor plan so I could

see where they needed to go on the model.


Finished Model with roof off


Finished model with roof on and production list


Finished floor plan with two elevations behind it


Exhibition & Presentation Summary




With my project, I set out to design a building that was both artful and functional, that had a clean, modern form. Although I could not complete a full-fledged plan and model in the time I had, I could try to express my own aesthetic. And I could learn about architecture from the process, and from my mistakes. One of the first thing I did was look at houses that I thought would be of a similar style to the house I wanted to create. Swedish architects Widjedal Racki Bergerhoff (Vee-dee-ye-doll) (Racki) (Barrier-hoff) designed the H-House in Trosa, Sweden and when I saw this house I instantly fell in love with it and it was one of the houses that I really emulated when designing my own house. I liked that all of the walls are glass and it brings the viewer into the outside. This house concentrated on playing with the balance of nature and building. Then I looked at The Tellada House seems to be levitating at a first glance. This is actually a visual illusion – the house maintains the slope of the land, while blending in with the natural environment, with trees that bring shade and comfort. The modern house has large windows, which create a good balance between the inside and outside, creating an open visual space of the forest. I love the simple and clean lines found at this house. This was done by the Spanish designers from Rosales and Crecente Architects.

       When I first started brainstorming ideas and plans for my house I first had to create a fictional client to make the house more unique and interesting. One day after searching through many books and online recourses, I saw a picture of myself on my wall in Bermuda and remembered a trip that I took Bermuda in which I visited a glass blowing studio called Dockglass in 2005 with my family and I was immediately fascinated. My dad and I both loved how they could create such amazing pieces of work from this molten liquid. It was a moment that really made an impression on me and has stuck with me to this day. ThatÕs when I decided to design a house for a family of glassblowers the two parents being the glassblowers and two adolescent children and that I wanted incorporate a glassblowing studio with the house.

       I then had to choose a site and I wanted to have a location near the roots of glassblowing so I chose a site in Venice. I originally had it on a small island on top of an amphitheatre and it seemed perfect I had even started designing a glass encased dock for the boats, but that turned out to be too much of a challenge because I could not physically go to the site and measure the elevation and other parameters.

I then settled on a property in East Hampton—a pink carriage house that sits on a small plot overlooking Wiborg beach. This site had everything that I wanted an interesting plot of land, an ocean front view, an emotional connection because this was the beach that I grew up on and then I realized that instead of fictionally tearing it down, I should make an addition and keep the other house as a guest house. Then I went to the property and measured. I found that a tape measure was very difficult to use and was sometimes not really accurate so it took many attempts to get the right measurements. I took photos so I could conceivably see where my addition could go and how to deal with all of the existing structures and what landscape would have to be torn down and what would stay. I went to the planning office of East Hampton town, hoping to get a site plan, but the house was built so long ago, it wasnÕt available.

       The next step in this process was drafting and this was probably the most difficult aspect of this project. This part of the project was especially tedious, making sure each wall was the right thickness and each doorway was the right length. I knew when designing the house that I wanted to have the glassblowing studio at the end of the property looking out at the ocean to give the glassblowers an awe inspiring view and stimulation. I then wanted to make the living quarters a warm environment so I made the bedrooms close to the studio also so the studio would be easily accessible by the parents. When I created the mid section of the house I wanted it to be spacious and open so that the kitchen, living room and dining room would flow together and make a roomy relaxed atmosphere.

       Next was building a model which meant translating my idea of a house into three-dimensional form. Which meant figuring out the materials that would be express the shape, feeling, and aesthetic I was after. Which was the hardest part for me because I had all of these ideas in my head and I was not fond of writing or drawing them out.

       First I had to put down the exterior walls made out of plexieglass this was the hardest part was assembling the model. Since my house was to be made mostly of glass, I used plexiglass. I got the thinnest possible plexiglass (1/8th inch) I then laid the groundwork with the floors. I used lined basswood, which I found at a hardware store and cut it with an exacto knife. I also made the interior walls from the basswood. I used a dark piece of sandpaper on the walls of the glass blowing studio to replicate a stonewall.

       Once I had the walls cut, I put them together with crazy glue and I learned (the hard way) that if crazy glue gets on plexiglass, it melds into the material. ThatÕs what happened in a few places, but no matter what I tried to get it off (nail polish remover, sandpaper, Bestine) it stayed on. By then the walls were up and it would be too time consuming to take them down and start over. I learned from this mistake and moved on.

       For the roof, I used a thin birch wood. To cut the flat roof I used a power saw and then sanded the edges. I didnÕt attach the roof because I wanted to be able to take it off, like a lid, and show the inside of the house.  At this point, I had a model that looked like a real house.




Bibliography or Works Consulted


Works Cited


"Demonstrations | Wimberly Glassworks." Wimberley Glassworks, Hand Blown Art Glass Lighting, Home Decor and Gifts from the Texas Hill Country. Web. 12 Oct. 2011. <>.


"Fallingwater - House over Waterfall, Frank Lloyd Wright." Wright House: Frank Lloyd, Orville and Wilbur, Steven... Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <>.


"Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater." - Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <>. Web. 9 Oct. 2011. <>.


Http:// Web. 8 Oct. 2011. <>.


"Inspirational Modern Architecture Houses Ç INDEZINER." INDEZINER. Web. 15 Oct. 2011. <>.


"Modern Architecture | Jetson Green." Jetson Green | Design-oriented Site for Sustainable Homes, Natural Materials, and Green Technology. Web. 10 Dec. 2011. <>.


"Modern House Designs | Trendir." Trendir - Home Decorating Trends Magazine. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <>.


Wagner, Rob. "Modern Architecture History |" EHow | How to Videos, Articles & More - Discover the Expert in You. | Web. 25 Nov. 2011. <>.