The empire of glass facades

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To see and be seen could be the motto behind the design of the most beautiful constructions nowadays. Thus, it seems that glass as a facade is here to stay. However, what stands out are the techniques for its use and even the integration of the material into self-sustainability concepts.

Today, the trend in terms of facades is the use of double glazing that combines different materials with unique frames, installation methods, and structural support. That has allowed architects not only to play with the light, the movement and create microclimates, but also to provide beauty to urban environments, allowing those who live or work there to enjoy everything that surrounds them.

Here is a list of 4 examples of constructions where this concept is masterfully implemented.

Smart glass. The Bursagaz building -one of the main gas companies of Turkey- is a perfect example of how the integration of photovoltaic double glass can take advantage of the conditions of the environment.

The original design of the building incorporates a double sheet of photovoltaic glass shaped as a mosaic that overlaps the facade. The facade contains 315 glasses of 500 mm x 700 mm, made of amorphous silicon, which has a 20% of transparency, allowing the inner light of the building to go through uniformly, thus, reducing the need for artificial illumination and filtering solar radiation. The structure was awarded the LEED Gold certification.

 

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Media Square. Another wonderful example of the use of double glass as facade is the Media Library of Mont de Marsan. This multimedia library has a classic architectural structure of clean lines and conservative design. It is basically a square of 197 by 197 feet, that shelters on the inside a square with the genius touch of a green ceiling that seems to be floating over the ground.

With a fully glazed facade that creates a beautiful balance between the constant natural light and the environment. The media library transforms at night into a sort of “urban flashlight” since its illumination adds a special touch to the surrounding green areas, paths, and reading areas. Without forgetting that on the inside the volumes resemble the vases of Alvar Aalto. It is a masterpiece.

 

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Treasury and economics in glass. The administrative building of the General Direction of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Spain not only received the 2016 COAM (Official Architecture Association of Madrid) Award, but also holds others such as the Award of Architecture in Glass granted by the Higher Council of Associations of Architects in Spain and the award from Saint-Gobain Glass as the Best Glass Facade.

The design is an intervention of the original administrative building with a ventilated double facade and protected on the inside by manual or automatic blinds. This floating glass glazing has turned it into a smart structure with a solar, thermic, and light adaptation that saves a considerable sum of money in energy expenses to its administration. Additionally, it provides a pleasant experience for those who work there.

 

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Glass Museum. “The Crystal” is the name of the Glyptotek Museum of Ancient and Modern Art of Denmark. With a clear glazed geometric structure, the building is designed around the interaction with the city’s historical center and the harbor.

The glass facade is supported from the inside by a diamond shape system with a triple-layer inner glass for thermal insulation. Additionally, the surrounding coating has integrated solar panels. All these aspects allow the building to reflect the daylight and the environment. The outer glass layer provides fresh air and creates natural ventilation that regulates the temperature inside the building.

The building that resembles a rock-crystal, consumes 70 kWh per square meter, which represents 25% less energy than the current requirement of the Danish law. Another interesting fact about “The Crystal” is that it has received important awards since its opening, among which are those granted by ArchDaily (Building of the Year under the category of “office buildings”), the European Steel Design Award, and the Leaf Award for the best structural design of the year.

It seems that the future will bring more smart buildings that not only will contribute to the detoxification of the air and the smart consumption of energy, but also to encourage us to pay more attention to the wonderful and kind aspects of the planet we live in.

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