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Is The Real Beauty Behind Architectural Glazing Projects Technical Innovation?

As glass provides so much natural light, it seems logical that architects looking to create impressive building designs that reflect their talent, opt to incorporate it into new project design. The fact that it also keeps a building’s occupants happy through improved living also stands it in good stead as a product with a continually evolving and positive future. Given the technical advances made and the benefits it offers in relation to its production, glass continues to be a distinctive and dominating building material in modern architecture.

Aesthetics in glass design have seen some spectacular architectural creations over recent years, and modern architecture is now crossing over conventional concepts into a new unorthodox era it would seem.

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A great number of glass buildings have been created over recent years that display outstanding architectural innovation combined with magnificent beauty. For example the heart of London’s skyline is now shimmering with glazed superstructures such as The Shard, The Gherkin and County Hall, all of which dominate the City’s riverbanks and even further afield.

Aesthetic choices reflect the unique design concept of the architect, while the energy performance of the glass gives construction companies and builders the opportunity to determine which is the best product for any given project in any regional climate.

In commercial glazing, where flat glass and coated glass technology is used across building applications such as curtain walling, storefronts, glazed canopies or even simple skylights, glass helps to bring out the best visually in respect of an architect’s or specifier’s plans.

For example the beauty of the 13-storey Basque Health Department HQ in the heart of Bilbao, Spain, is now one of the areas most popular tourist attractions. Many could be forgiven for thinking it was an art gallery or similar structure. rather than an office building that has been designed to make the most of the natural light both internally and externally.

Basque Health Department Headquarters

Architecturally, complex window systems combine challenging technical demands with with a creativity that requires the best from the product at all times and during all seasons, for a very long time. Quality, advanced, durability and adaptability are key watchwords that most people in the glazing sector readily understand and use to highlight its merits.

An example of this can be found in The Netherlands. Considered to be ‘the most sustainable building in the world’ The Edge can be found in Amsterdam and has been designed with solar panels as its energy source. Designed by OVG Real Estate, it is energy neutral with solar panels housed on its roof and every other surface that is not a window, on one side, is a power source.

Yet, when it comes to longevity the glazed principal entrance to Le Louvre has to be one of the most quintessentially striking designs ever produced, despite harsh criticism from many architects when it was unveiled. Comprising 673 glass panes of both diamond and triangular shapes, the iconic pyramid now represents the symbol of all Le Louvre represents …from its association to historical roots in the French Revolution through to the art that can be found on its walls.

The Edge - Amsterdam

Solar reflection, sound insulation and burglar resistance are all essential aspects for many projects today with increased protection now a focal point for architects. As the technical performance of insulating glass becomes increasingly important during the planning and design stages, co-operation and creative understanding must surely become more and more vital between all parties, as projects evolve?

With more and more structural glazing contracts requiring hard facts about the technical specifications of a project, all of which must comply with legislation, then surely it makes sense for more processors to be involved and right there at the heart of discussions during those very early collaboration and planning stages?

Helen Duval 2017

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