Glass House itself is inferior to Farnsworth House in «intellectual rigor» and exquisite detailing, according to Nicolai Ouroussoff. For instance, he wrote, the steel I-beams at the corners of Johnson’s building «are clumsily detailed — especially disconcerting in a work of such purity.» Nevertheless, the building is «a legitimate aesthetic triumph», with the glass walls beautifully layering silhouetted and reflected images layered on each other, the critic wrote. «[T]he classical references alluded to by its thin brick base and the symmetrical proportions of its frame demonstrate the range of Johnson’s historical knowledge.»
He criticized the underground picture gallery as too «dark and somber», and said the ability to flip the paintings on movable walls is a more rigid situation than it might first appear, since only six works can be seen at any one time. Ouroussoff praised the sculpture gallery as pleasingly open and rejected criticism that the shadows cast by rafters beneath the skylights distorted the look of the sculpture—he thought the changing shadows enhanced the artwork.