Innovations in Glass

An exploration of how architects are pushing the limits of technology to exploit the mutable nature of glass, its aesthetic qualities, and its energy-conserving potential.
By Architectural Record
James S. Russell, Josephine Minutillo, Joann Gonchar, Linda Lentz, and David Sokol
 
Continuing Education
 

Learning Objectives - After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss glass manufacturing processes as well as fabrication options and limitations that architects should take into account while designing glazed building skins.
  2. Define terms relevant to glass and glazing selection, such as VLT, U-value, and solar heat gain coefficient.
  3. Discuss how architects like SANAA and Foster + Partners have overcome the detailing challenges presented by curved glass.
  4. Describe how technologies such as electrochromic glazing and double skins work to improve energy efficiency.

Credits:

1 AIA LU/HSW

Glass may be the most chameleonlike of building materials. Depending on how it is manipulated, combined with other materials, or how it is installed, it can appear transparent, translucent, or opaque. The same glass surface can take on varying characteristics in different atmospheric conditions. It can be made flat as a pancake or bent into perfect arcs. These stories explore how architects are pushing the limits of technology to exploit this material's mutable nature, its aesthetic qualities, and its energy-conserving potential-demonstrating that glass is more than merely molten sand.

Innovations In Glass

Pictured: Elbphilarmonie, Hamburg, Germany, Herzog & de Meuron; Photo © Thies Raetzke

Straight Story On Curves

Straight Story On Curves
Fabrication advances allow architects to create buildings that are transparent or translucent, as well as sculptural.

Photo © Thies Raetzke

Reflections on the Box

Reflections on the Box
A new addition to the Corning Museum of Glass by Thomas Phifer and Partners continues a tradition of architectural invention at its upstate New York campus.

Photo © Iwan Baan

Thick-Skinned

Thick-Skinned
Two very different buildings deploy double curtain walls to satisfy the competing demands of transparency, efficiency, and comfort.

Photo © Shen Zonghai

Bigger, Flatter, Clearer

Bigger, Flatter, Clearer
Two towers rising is in Shenzhen, China, demonstrate Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's approach to creating transparent and pristine facades.

Photo © SOM

Dynamic Glass

Dynamic Glass
Three design teams explore the potential of electrochromic-glazing technology to enhance building-envelope performance and aesthetics.

Photo courtesy Studio 804

The Future Is Crystal Clear

The Future Is Crystal Clear
Architects, scientists, and manufacturers look toward emerging technologies and materials to develop the next generation of glass and glazing products.

Photo courtesy GlassX

 

 

Originally published in Architectural Record.

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