Dezeen Magazine

Windowless facade of house by John Pawson

Ten blank buildings that present a windowless face to the world

Plans for windowless student dorms in California attracted widespread criticism last week, but Munger Hall is not the first building to keep natural light at bay. Our latest roundup features ten fenestrationally challenged buildings with glassless facades.

House in Toyonaka by Fujiwaramuro Architects

House in Toyonaka by FujiwaraMuro Architects

Japanese studio FujiwaraMuro Architects designed this L-shaped house in Osaka as a series of boxes with only small openings allowing light and air inside.

The idea was to ensure the occupants' privacy, replacing windows with glass inserts throughout the building.

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The Imprint by MVRDV

The Imprint by MVRDV

This indoor entertainment complex in Seoul, designed by Dutch studio MVRDV, is entirely windowless.

Instead, The Imprint's glass-fibre reinforced facade imitates the surrounding buildings of the Paradise City hotel resort, which serves South Korea's biggest airport.

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Alpha House by UABI

Alpha House by UABI

There are plenty of shapes and materials but no windows on the front of this two-storey house in the Brazilian city of Londrina, designed by local architecture firm UABI.

The back of the house makes up for the windowless front with three floor-to-ceiling windows of varying forms.

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Seaside House in Kanagawa by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

Seaside House by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

One full side of this house in the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa, dreamt up by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates, is made entirely of featureless white concrete.

The opposite side, which looks out over the Pacific Ocean, has plenty of glazing and is more window than wall, an effect heightened by a cantilevering infinity pool.

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Bunker with mirrored facade

Pet crematorium by Petr Hájek Architekti

Czech studio Petr Hájek Architekti built a pet crematorium within a half-buried Cold War bunker, with the six-metre-high original concrete facade covered in small hexagonal mirrors described by the designers as a "mystic window".

Inside the bunker, walls and floors have been painted white to keep the space bright, despite the lack of natural light.

Find out more about the pet crematorium ›

Okinawa House by John Pawson holiday home architecture Japan

Okinawa House by John Pawson

British architect John Pawson designed this holiday home on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Similarly to the Seaside House in Kanagawa, it is entirely windowless from the street in order to provide privacy, but its ocean-facing rear has multiple glazed walls.

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Kamiuma House by Chop + Archi

Kamiuma House by Chop + Archi

Architecture studio Chop + Archi's Kamiuma House in Tokyo has very few windows and was designed to both offer privacy from the neighbouring houses and control the levels of strong sunlight hitting the house.

Located on a nearly triangular corner plot, the house uses voids carved into its vertices to make the interior surprisingly bright.

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Garden Tennis Club of Cabourg by Lemoal Lemoal Architectes 

Garden Tennis Club pavilion by Lemoal Lemoal Architectes

This changing facility at a tennis club in northern France is halfway between having no windows at all and being almost entirely window.

Paris studio Lemoal Lemoal used a skin of translucent polycarbonate behind the timber frame to protect the modesty of those inside.

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Shirokane House by MDS

Shirokane House by MDS

Shirokane House is a bunker-like home in urban Japan, designed by Tokyo-based studio MDS.

A doorway is the only opening in its concrete facade, but by angling upwards and outwards, the house encourages plenty of natural light inside.

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House with one small window

House with a Light Void by FujiwaraMuro Architects

FujiwaraMuro Architects' designed House with a Light Void in Japan's Hyogo prefecture in an area with a lack of interesting views.

Instead of street-facing windows, a series of skylights are placed over vertical volumes inside the house, with glazed openings in the middle of each floor to allow light to travel all the way down to the ground.

Find out more about House with a Light Void ›