With many a circadian rhythm thrown out-of-whack by time changes, you're not alone in feeling physically and mentally off: sluggish, stressed-out, sickly even. While supplements, exercise, a healthier diet and artificial lighting can help to ward off seasonal malaise, London-based architectural glazing company Cantifix along with architect Brent Richards and a team of researchers at Oxford University have joined together to introduce a new weapon in the battle against the bad sleep blues: completely transparent glass houses.

The centerpiece of a larger effort to promote healthier living through natural daylighting, The Photon Space is a futuristic-looking dwelling — a free-standing "daylight suite," really — with nary a window dressing in sight. Closer resembling a flora-free greenhouse than a glass-heavy modernist abode that emphasizes a closer connection to the natural world, the ultimate goal of The Photon Space is to better expose its inhabitants to natural daylight and darkness cycles.

Revolving around groundbreaking research conducted by noted circadian neuroscientist and Oxford professor Russell Foster, the Photon Project believes that living in an all-glass environment with maximum exposure to daylight can help to correct out-of-sync circadian rhythms and provide relief to those suffering from the various health woes associated with consistently cruddy sleep.

inside The Photon Space house

inside The Photon Space house

Charlie Sharman, co-founder of Cantifix and managing director of The Photon Project, tells The Daily Mail:

'This exciting project combines years of research, glass innovation, engineering and architecture to provide a new way to restore, relax and rejuvenate. In our modern lives we spend too much time indoors, despite the fact that scientific research shows that daylight has profound benefits for our health, mood and productivity. We have ignored the fact that we still require exposure to natural light for psychological and physiological reasons to stay in tune with our biological clocks and to keep us healthy and happy.

Paranoid types who might toss and turn all night fretting about the lack of privacy that comes along with living in a giant fishbowl — I can feel it, something out there is watching — needn’t worry as the high-performance intelligent glass can be instantly turned opaque via smartphone app, remote control or even a gesture.

One of the enhancements we are offering is the inclusion of glass that can switch from transparent to opaque at the flick of a switch or the swipe of your phone. This means it will be possible to transform the interior to suit the personal therapeutic or medical requirements of the inhabitant with specific programmes. For example the glass could be set to combat the jet-lag of the inhabitant by inputting the time of day and the length and direction of travel. The intelligent glass skin will then switch between clear and opaque to create the perfect environment for sleep or wakefulness. Separate programmes will be available for the treatment of stress; anxiety; seasonal affective disorder; lack of energy; low libido; and other common conditions.

Easily installed in both urban (design renderings show a cluster of Photon Spaces installed on a city rooftop) and more secluded rural environments with a construction time of about four weeks, the steel-framed Photon Space not only discourages peeping Toms through advanced electrochromic technology but also regulates temperature so that the interior is never uncomfortably hot or cold. According to the Photon Project, the dwelling’s double- and triple-glazed glass envelope blocks 63 percent of solar radiation and 99.9 percent of ultraviolet rays. Translation: no ACs, space heaters or sunscreen are needed. Bathrobes, however, are probably a wise idea.

outside of The Photon Space house

The Photon Space house

Additionally, The Photon Space blocks out 85 percent of external sound, further promoting a restful sleep. This is a good thing, I suppose, for those living in an all-glass house located in a remote locale where day-to-day privacy may not be a huge concern but where every strange noise and snapped tree branch in the middle of the night will prompt residents to sit bolt upright in bed.

Measuring 485 square feet, The Photon Space was designed as a “compact living solution” with some degree of flexibility — a modest bedroom and sitting area along with a modular bathroom and kitchen are standard.

As mentioned, the dwelling can be be sited pretty much anywhere although it ideally will "nest in the environment and become embedded in the surroundings." The Photon Project team has also conceived a larger Photon House that rings in at 2,690 square feet.

At the 2013 London Design Festival, the Photon Project tested out the technology at a more modest, proof of concept-level scale with the Photon Pod, an all-glass shed measuring a little over 300 square feet and equipped with Philips Hue lighting technology. Over the course of nine days, Photon Pod welcomed over 1,000 visitors keen on learning more about the relationship between light and overall wellbeing. In conjunction with the launch of the Photon Pod, a 2-day symposium dedicated to the topic of daylight and its connection to health, science, technology and architecture was held.

The Photon Space

A cluster of nine Photon Pods similar to the prototype presented at the London Design Festival will next be used in a four-year study conducted by Foster in which over 300 participants will live in the enclosed glass shelters for three-week stretches.

In the meantime, the Photon Project is also raising funds on Crowdcube to help make Photon Space a reality with the goal to initially introduce the concept to luxury spas, hotels and wellness resorts. Outside of the commercial market, interested parties can order their very own wellness-promoting glass abodes for $330,000 — luxury models are also available for a little more than $400,000.

This is obviously a pretty penny to fork over for a well-tuned internal clock. But for those with healthy living on the brain and the available real estate in which to to plop down an all-glass pied-à-terre (an exhibitionist streak wouldn't hurt either), The Photon Space might just be the key to a restful night's sleep.

Via [The Daily Mail], [PSFK]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Enjoy a healthier night's sleep in this totally transparent house
Just try not to think about who — or what — might be watching as you settle in for the night.