Beyond Ordinary: The Durability of Reinforced Glass Walls

Beyond Ordinary: The Durability of Reinforced Glass Walls

In search for more transparency, sustainability and slender structures, structural glass is becoming increasingly popular. In both pavilion ‘De Boerderij’ and the Gouda glass canopy the capacity of the steel structure has been increased by using in-plane loaded glass.

This means that the load is transferred away from the corners where regular braces would normally be placed. This solution also allows for more creative designs.

Circular Glass Walls

Circular glass walls can add a striking and memorable feature to any new-build or renovation project. As well as creating a stunning focal point, they offer the opportunity to increase daylight and views for occupants whilst providing an aesthetic that complements and enhances the surrounding space.

Structural glass wall systems that are dead loaded typically have less impact on the overall building structure compared to a tensile or suspended system. Nonetheless, the design of these structures should consider the load transfer through the base connections and the top connection reactions.

For a structural glass wall to be properly designed and installed, it is important that all interested parties are involved in the process each step of the way: including the general contractor, structural engineers, designers and subcontractors. Taking a ‘design-assist’ approach with scheduled meetings throughout the duration of the project will help to ensure that all parties are clear on the means and methods of construction, the primary and secondary fail-safes, as well as ensuring that safety is paramount.

GFRG (Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum) is a non-combustible material with low flame spread and smoke development values, making it ideal for use in any commercial or residential project. It is also factory molded to size, minimising the need for excessive framing, and can be finished on site with any interior finish.

Geometric Glass Walls

As architecture and urban design have evolved, so too has the desire for glass walls that blur the line between indoor and outdoor. These walls are not only breathtakingly beautiful, but they allow natural light to flood into interior spaces and provide a sense of openness that makes rooms feel larger.

The geometrical shapes of these structures have created a new set of challenges in terms of their structural design and the material selection. Non-rectangular shapes call for new solutions that can take advantage of the bending strengths of glass instead of using steel braces as a stabilizing system.

Regular in-plane loads can be transferred without the need for steel braces by using setting blocks which distribute the forces equally over the glass edges. The stiffness of these blocks is high enough to transfer the forces, yet flexible to allow slight temperature deformations.

Thin-walled GFRC panels are commonly used for cladding on buildings. They are produced from a concrete mix that is reinforced with glass fibres, which have replaced asbestos fibres due to their health and safety issues (7).

Patterned Glass Walls

When using patterned glass walls in the office it is important to coordinate them with the rest of the furniture and color scheme. This will help create a more cohesive look and can also reinforce the company branding and logo.

Adding decorative pattern glass to the exterior of a building adds a stylish design element that improves security and visibility. This glass can also be insulated to provide thermal and sound control. In addition, the sealed surface provides an anti-microbial feature making it a perfect choice for healthcare facilities.

A wide range of glass wall designs can be created by the use of patterned and textured glass. These can be combined with other glass types to achieve the desired structural and aesthetic design. A good design starts with understanding the glass fabrication process and assessing the quality of the finished product. This is particularly critical for curved units. Inconsistent bending, haze, and edge distortions can all impact the visual appearance of the glass. A full scale unit review under realistic viewing conditions and oblique angles is recommended to evaluate the performance of the glass.