Glass brick, or glass block, is often used as an architectural element in underground parking garages, washrooms, municipal swimming baths, and other areas where privacy or visual obscuration is desired, while admitting light. Glass brick is often used to create visual privacy barriers that allow light to pass, unrestricted, but distorts visual coherent light to such a degree as to provide reasonable privacy. Additionally, glass brick provides light without compromising security. A typical size of glass brick is 8 by 8 inches, such that it falls within the lattice of standard 8 by 16 inch cinderblock walls. In terms of ease of decontamination, glass brick is as good as ceramic tile, so it is ideal for washdown/decon areas, as well as for wet areas such as changerooms, washrooms, and municipal swimming baths.
The latest trend in public washrooms is to have all the fixtures outside the room, located in backworld service entrances behind the walls. Some washrooms have glassbrick windows that run all the way around the washroom, to create an illusion light from all directions.
The Xanadu Houses were a series of experimental homes, built to showcase examples of computers and automation in the home in the United States. The architectural project began in 1979, and during the early 1980s three houses were built in different parts of the United States: one each in Kissimmee, Florida; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The houses included novel construction and design techniques, and became popular tourist attractions during the 1980s.
The Xanadu Houses were notable for being built with polyurethane insulation foam rather than concrete, for easy, fast, and cost-effective construction. They were ergonomically designed, and contained some of the earliest home automation systems.