So i'm planning to build my own house and i have hired an architect to design it. So today they shown me the sketch up model and the floor plan. 1 thing really bother me, where i have concern that the outside of glass will be out of reach for maintenance and cleaning.

i need input from you guys about my concern, What problems will I face with this all glass stairwell? do you guys think i should ask them to change it? or do you guys have some ideas about modifying this into better and more easy maintenance glass/design?

your ideas are greatly appreciated.

enter image description here

  • Some glass has a surface coating to shed dirt etc. – Solar Mike Apr 28 '19 at 11:15
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Unfortunately, this is probably too broad and opinion-based a question for us, but let's see if you get good answers. – Daniel Griscom Apr 28 '19 at 12:14
  • I'm sorry if this topic is too broad, i would really like some opinion for this topic. before deciding if want to discard / keep the design @DanielGriscom, maybe you help me with some wording so i could edit my question to make it more specific? thanks – himawan_r Apr 28 '19 at 12:24
  • It's really the opinion-based part that I see as the problem. I haven't flagged it; let's see if someone answers. – Daniel Griscom Apr 28 '19 at 13:39
  • "I doubt the maintenance would be easy" doesn't seem to raise a "should we not design this into our home" question, but rather, a "How do we maintain tall glass" question. That would be off-topic since it's a cleaning/janitorial question. "What problems will I face with this all glass stairwell" would be on-topic. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 28 '19 at 16:55

Well, I see a few potential problems from what the drawing shows.

Mind you, first off, you should discuss your concerns with your architect, as that may be the way to get them addressed, or to get your architect's view on how the design will work. Unfortunately, as I recall too well from a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit, sometimes architects think things like roofs that leak and chairs that fall over are not their problem. You should ask to visit & interview the owners of built examples of any prior projects with a similar feature, if there are any.

So - looks like a totally flat roof, which will almost certainly leak. Looks like a glass box with the upper part unventilated, which may serve as a place to do some low-grade solar cooking, but otherwise might be a lot hotter than you want much of the year when the sun is shining. When the sun is not shining, it may be quite cold, or require a lot of supplemental heat, much of which will be wasted. Not sure what the climate where you are is like.

Presumably the idea is to bring light into the building through the stairwell, but this seems like an extreme (and probably expensive) approach to that goal.

I would expect you to have a number of dead birds scattered around the building on a regular basis, as well, with that "glass box sticking out" arrangement, where they fly into the glass thinking they can fly through. Using frosted glass where the view is not a factor could help to reduce that.

  • i'm on tropical side of the world and those glass are on our west side of house."Presumably the idea is to bring light into the building through the stairwell" this is what they said. – himawan_r Apr 29 '19 at 5:48
  • I think as you answer said, i got more disadvantage to what it benefits me – himawan_r Apr 29 '19 at 5:49

I live in a mild climate and we designed a house for a client with a large greenhouse on it facing south.

We installed thermostatically controlled exhaust vents and the space still stayed extremely hot. The client was nice and she found it perfect for growing oranges, tomatoes, etc. year round.

I’d be concerned about extreme heat build up and put your architect on notice that it must be comfortable without running AC constantly.

Also, some window glazing seals are only rated to certain temperatures. If it gets too hot, the seals could fail.

Also, you don’t want metal handrails (or anything you could touch) because the metal could overheat and be too hot to use...especially with direct sun hitting the handrail.

  • fyi those glass are on our west side of house, and we are on tropical climate. which i also concerned about it's being super hot – himawan_r Apr 29 '19 at 5:43

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