If the Brothers Grimm’s tale of Hansel and Gretel taught us anything, it’s that houses are not meant to be eaten. And though it’s rare that we are presented with such temptation, if you were to encounter the Solarium by installation artist William Lamson, your willpower might be tested.
The stained-glass one-room cabin is constructed from 162 individual panels made from sugar cooked to different temperatures and then sealed between two panes of window glass surrounded by silicone. While the tiny light-filled sanctuary was built as an experimental greenhouse cultivating three species of miniature citrus trees, it could easily also be used as many other structures, including a yoga and meditation space, a chapel, reading room, study or writers retreat. For the warmer season, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, the large panels on each side of the Solarium can be opened to allow summer breezes to float idly through its interior.
The architecture itself takes its influences from the structure of a plant leaf, where the stomata (the openings on the leaves) open and close to help regulate the plant’s temperature. When perched at the apex of an isolated hillside, the Solarium is intended to be viewed from afar, lit up from within by the sunlight to appear as a kind of jewel-like sanctuary. William designed the Solarium as part of a commission for the Storm King Art Center’s Light & Landscape show in Hudson Valley, New York. Based in Brooklyn, William has worked with sugar for several of his installation projects due to its ability to change colour and texture when heated.