Glass Bricks in Argentine Houses: Achieving Natural Light and Privacy with Translucent Blocks
When designing a space, architects across the board tout the importance, and even necessity, of incorporating natural light into interiors. This means taking measures to control the quantity of light being let in and its distribution throughout the space.
In the case of residential spaces, where privacy plays a larger role than in public spaces like offices, restaurants, and stores, opaque materials like screens, tinted glass, and other barriers are the go-tos for providing protection and privacy from the outside; however, the privacy that these methods provide often comes at the cost of the space's natural lighting, forcing designers to seek alternative materials that allow for both light and privacy.
One of these materials are glass blocks or bricks, also known as pavés, that can create translucent glass surfaces that take in natural light while blocking visibility from outside. Glass bricks were patented as industrialized products around 1907, but similar products had been handcrafted and sold even before then.
Early examples of glass bricks in architecture can be seen in Bruno Taut's Glass Pavilion for the Werkbund Exhibition (1914), the Maison de Verre (1928), and Argentina's Chacabuco 78 (1910), an exponent of Catalan Modernism.