From the EditorAugust 10th, 2020 | Category: Architects' Guide to Glass and Metal
Putting on a Show
By Jordan Scott
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attack on all-glass buildings earlier this year may have been a publicity stunt to gain people’s attention and, if it was, it certainly worked. Since April, there’s been more focus on the energy and thermal performance of glass and its place in the world of architecture.
Within the glass industry there were many who were quick to defend glass and point out all of its additional benefits, as well as all of the great high-performance products out there, such as triple-glazed units and vacuum insulating glass. However, these products are not yet widely specified in the United States. Part of the problem is that they’re expensive. Another is that our codes don’t mandate their use.
Despite this reality, there are many architects who are aware of the possibilities when it comes to high-performance glazing. Architect Benedict Tranel, principal at Gensler, gives his insight into the world of double-skin façades (See “The Double Take” on page 18) and their ability to give developers a return on investment with energy efficiency and beyond.
On the flip side of performance is aesthetic. Aesthetics are often the main draw to glass products for architects. Glass offers transparency and increased natural light, which contributes to occupant comfort and health. Glass can be used in several surprising interior applications which add light and color to spaces within a building (See “An Inside Job” on page 14).
Glass can also be a medium for expression, whether an architect wants to include a full-color image or a simple design on glass to create a unique space. However, there are considerations architects should keep in mind when specifying decorative glass for a project. (See “Understanding the Variety in Decorative Glass” on page 10).
Whether it’s performance or aesthetics, glass can rise to the challenge. And with many experts in the glass industry fired up to prove glass’ worth in the world of architectural materials, I’m sure there are even more improvements, technically and regulatory, ahead.
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