Structural glass and architecture: combining transparency with design

16/11/2022

If we ask you to think of a glass structure, what's the first one that comes to mind? A very interesting example of structural glass is given by the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, an exceptional metal and glass structure that has become famous the world over. The history of glass teaches us that its primary function is to bring light into buildings, leaving glass a marginal role within the structure itself.

However, the evolution of architecture and design has led to a different use of glass, which becomes an integral – if not a leading – part of highly striking structures.

 

Steel and glass, a “mechanical” symbiosis

 

Using structural glass as the main material of a building is the answer to an increasing need to “lighten” the architectural envelope, making it more charismatic and increasing its transparency.

Used in conjunction with steel, glass takes on a more structural role. This mechanical symbiosis has enabled the construction of curtain walls and pillars providing exceptional support for roofs, walkways and staircases.

The most interesting and best-known property of glass is transparency.

For this reason, it is very much used in buildings with very specific architectural features.

However, transparency is not the only feature of glass. The latter is also hard, a characteristic that can be further enhanced by processes such as chemical strengthening and thermal tempering.

 

An excellent example of structural glass by Isoclima

 

We have already mentioned staircases as one of the structures in which glass can steal the show.

This is especially true of a particular staircase that we designed for a global leader in technology tools such as computers, smartphones and tablets. For this project, we worked on a metallic structure surrounding a huge glass “tube” placed inside a room.

Thus, together with glass, the interlayer becomes an important and wonderful example of how metal can accompany transparency, creating architectures that whet the imagination and enchant the visitor.