As a rookie college graduate I was eager to begin teaching myself the trade of building. I dug to my roots and remembered a man I trapped gophers for. Bob. He had mentioned that he dreamed of having an all glass green house. At the time (1998) he had purchased 80 (60 – 28x68 and 20 – 20x83) panes of tempered glass from the classifieds. In August of 2011, I looked him up. He had just received a bid to do a polycarbonate roof with pressure treated framing. I flinched at the demise of a dream and the ruins of such potential. I asked if he was interested in all glass? He said yes but wanted to see plans and know how I was planning on doing a glass roof. I asked him for a week to do research.
I came to him with drawings and a list of materials needed. He asked if knew what I was doing. I honestly replied, “no.” But assured him I would find a way and he wouldn’t regret it. After a pause of wonder, he said sure.
The space had already been excavated. He wanted cedar, opening windows, power and water. The rest was an open pallet for me to play with. I used the glass as tangrams to create the whole space. Using All but one piece of glass I designed and engineered the structure.
For me, it was not about production building. It was a rare opportunity to do something unique. I have always admired glass for its clarity, strength, and versatility. In school, a teacher told me that you there was nothing you could not do with glass. That stuck with me through out the project. When obstacles arose, I had done enough research and developed resources to overcome them. When finished, I asked if he was happy. His response was simple, yes. And it was great.
Since then I have stopped by to check up on the building and Bob. He gets excited to show me what he has done up there. He claims that when the sun comes out, with in 30 minutes it is 90 degrees in there (this is February in Oregon). I have come to learn that this makes an avid gardener very happy. He has his entire garden started from seeds including grafting his own tomato plants.
It is great to see it functioning in the way that he wanted. However what I enjoy more are the text I get from him hearing that he and his wife are sitting in the glass house, over looking the valley watching the lightning and listening to thunder and the ambiance of rain falling on glass. It is perched up on a hill that over looks the Willamette Valley, and on a clear day the Three Sisters of the Cascades are gleaming.