The Tower House / Gluck+

  • 18 Jul 2013
  • Featured Houses Selected Works
© Paul Warchol

Architects: Gluck+
Location: Upstate, New York,
Project Team: Peter L. Gluck, Thomas Gluck, David Hecht, Marisa Kolodny, A.B. Moburg-Davis
Area: 2545.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Paul Warchol, Courtesy of Gluck+

Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates P.C.
Mechanical Engineer: IBC Engineering Services Inc.
Façade: Forst Consulting Co., Inc.
Environmental Engineer: IBC Engineering Services Inc.
Lighting: Lux Populi

© Paul Warchol

From the architect. This small vacation house is designed as a stairway to the treetops. Keeping the footprint to a minimum so as not to disturb the wooded site, each of the first three floors has only one small bedroom and bath, each a tiny private suite. The top floor, which contains the living spaces, spreads out from the tower like the surrounding forest canopy, providing views of the lake and mountains in the distance. An outdoor roof terrace deck above extends the living space above the treetops, offering a stunning lookout to the long view. The glass-enclosed stair also highlights the procession from forest floor to treetop aerie, while the dark green, back-painted glass exterior camouflages the house by reflecting the surrounding woods, de-materializing its form. At dusk, mini lights dotting the cable rail of the stair mimic local fireflies sparkling in the woods as day turns to dark.


As a vacation home, the Tower House is used during a few weekends in the winter and most weekends in the summer. The design imperative was to develop a sustainable, energy efficient solution with minimal operating costs and maintenance for a house occupied part-time. The stacked north-facing bedrooms take advantage of light and views with floor to ceiling glass. In order to optimize energy savings for heating and cooling in this part-time residence, a two part sustainable strategy was employed to reduce the heating footprint of the house in the winter and to avoid the need for air conditioning in the summer.

© Paul Warchol

While the house is heated conventionally, by compressing and stacking all of the wet zones of the house into an insulated central core, much of the house can be “turned off” in the winter when not in use. When not in use, only 700 square feet of the 2,545 square foot house is heated. By closing the building down to only the insulated core, there is a 49% reduction in energy use. In the summertime, the house feels comfortable without air conditioning. Cool air is drawn in and through the house using the stack effect. South-facing glass throughout the stairwell creates a solar chimney and as the heated air rises, it is exhausted out the top,drawing in fresh air through the house from the cooler north side.

Cite: "The Tower House / Gluck+" 18 Jul 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • Croco Dile

    Great view !

  • Herman

    Listed Location of project – Upstate, NY

    What the map shows… Upstate Medical Hospital in Syracuse, NY

    Get it together AD…afterall you’re the “most visited online arch publication”

  • LAc

    Upstate, NY isn’t a location anyway.

  • MarcioB

    not a horrible project in my opinio… but also in my opinio the choice of materials is completely out of any context of the surroundings… looks like a small shopping mall inside a forest! very poor choice of materials I would say… but who knows, maybe the clients wanted it like that!…

  • Jakob

    für green?
    Gruß Heide

  • Tbui

    I would say its better if elevator is added.

  • Jaap Purmerend

    2 uurtjes zoeken! 41°55’19.85″N 74°14’28.81″W