Glass is a magical material with so many different uses and properties that it has presented many new possibilities and designs to Architects. Architects often employ reinforced, toughened, and laminated glasses in their quest for transparency and safety. Glass has been a fascinating material to humanity since it was first manufactured around 500 BC. Glass had come a long way at first thought of possessing magical properties. It is one of the oldest and most versatile materials in the construction industry. Its architecture has grown from its humble beginnings as a windowpane in Virgin Island’s luxury houses to cultured structural members in new age buildings.
History of blocks of Glass used in construction
In the early 1800s, individual glass blocks were used to illuminate the cellars and the bowels of ships – at first, cut squares of pure conventional glass, then prism-shaped pressed glass that allowed light to disperse. The prismatic glass was fixed by fitting them into steel frame structures in the form of intermediate skylights or ceilings, which allowed larger surfaces to become translucent.
In 1902, an American architect, Harrison Albright, built the United States’ first largest glass dome. Simultaneously, hollow glass blocks were developed for vertical structures, offering better noise and thermal insulation than solid blocks. The present commercial manufacturing method allows the production of glass blocks with a maximum surface area of 30 cm x 30 cm. They are used for the production of straight and curved inner and outer walls.
Varieties of Glass used in the Architectural Field
Choosing the right type of glass can play a significant part in your property’s architectural design. The market offers numerous styles and various types of glasses. Let’s take a look.
- Sheet Glass: It is the most typical type of glazing glass available. It is used for door and window partitions and to draw a sheet from a liquefied glass ball.
- Plate Glass: It is used in windows, shop fronts, buildings, and workshops for general glazing purposes.
- Wired Glass: Wired Glass is a product that is inserted into a wire mesh during production. This product is traditionally considered low-cost fire glass and used for windows, fire-resistant doors, skylights, and north light trusses.
- Laminated Vitre: Laminated Glass is a variety of safety glass that holds together when it is shattered. In breaking, it is held in place between its two or more layers of glass by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral. Laminated glass is typically used in skylight glazing and automotive windshields.
- Flint Glass: This is a particular glass type which has a high refractive index. It is used to make lenses, tableware, glassware, electrical tubes, radio valves, and optical glass cuttings.
- Foam Glass: This particular cellular Glass has the properties of high heat and sound insulation. It is a lightweight, opaque material of glass that has a closed-cell structure.
- Fiberglass: It is a material composed of fine glass fibers. It is used on many polymer products as a reinforcing agent. It is sturdy and durable and is used in glass-based roofing, pipe insulation, bends, valves, etc., container thermal insulation, and panel insulation.
Benefits of Incorporating Glass
Glass finds application as an insulation material, structural component, external glazing material, and cladding material in the construction industry. Here’s why incorporating glass into your construction will be beneficial.
- Beauty & Versatility
Glass block is exceptionally versatile and available in many aesthetically pleasing sizes and styles, offering virtually endless design possibilities. Glass block walls, partitions, and windows combine the delicate glass beauty and light transmission with glass block strength. When we combine single glass sheets is laminated or insulated units, the overall color and appearance typically change. Numerous environmental factors such as sunlight reflected sky, and clouds can also condition glass color.
- Visibility & Transmission of Light
Glass block gives outstanding visibility. It is also scratch-resistant, transmitting up to 80% of the light in both directions without yellowing, clouding, or weathering.
- Conserving Energy
Glass is a bad heat conductor. A good double-layered glass acts as a good insulator and can help conserve energy and reduce energy bills.
- Resistant to Noise
Sealed glass panels convey minimal sound. Laminated and insulating glass are the most common types of glass used. It is also possible to achieve better sound insulation with double-glazed glass, in which vacuum-sealed inner spaces and certain gasses affect sound insulation and provide acoustic stability.
Glass’s versatility continues to increase, with scientists finding new applications for this material of wonder. It is used to make delicate-looking fenestrations on facades and conventional windows. Glass is continually transforming, with the arrival of green technology in construction. A few of the newer uses are solar power glass, switchable glass projection screens. This is one material that you should look for!