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TheStreet Open House

Full Exposure: Ultra-Cool Glass Houses

NEW CANAAN, Conn. ( MainStreet) -- A modernist statement -- aka the use of industrial materials such as glass and steel for domestic home construction -- was made by such visionary architects as Mies van der Rohe, with his 1929 Barcelona Pavilion. Later he did the same in America with his "Farnsworth House," and Phillip Johnson followed suit with his "Glass House," seen here, in New Canaan, Conn.

These homes are studies in transparency and reflection and blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. A $1.4 million home in Quepos, Costa Rica, was built on 6.4 acres near Manuel Antonia National Park, one of the most biodiverse in the country. While there is a marble staircase, pool, helipad and a master bedroom suite with a jacuzzi tub behind the bed, the house would be worth much less without its 360-degree views of the surrounding oceans and mountains -- the exotic monkeys, sloths, iguanas and whopping 184 bird species and, along the beach, dolphins and even migrating whales.

Still, while the proverb about "people in glass houses" predates the building of the first glass home, it certainly is good advice for anyone looking to live in one.

It takes a certain kind of person to feel comfortable with all that exposure -- one with either a lot of chutzpah or plenty of private acreage. Not to mention some tight security to keep those gawkers away.

Here are some of the best see-through homes on the market:

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