Design continues to move into new frontiers because of the performance levels and complexity achieved in glass fabrication by technological advances. With an increase in demand for new forms of industrial glass in architecture, curved glass structures are on the rise.
The architectural curved glass possesses limitless possibilities and is a highly versatile building material. It offers an exciting range of uses because of its safety, durability, and easy to maintain components. The technology today has allowed us to push limits. Manufacturers, glaziers, fabricators, and people in the design are researching the best possible design solutions. Read on to find out what is curved glass, and how it is reshaping architecture.
What is a curved glass?
Nowadays, modern buildings are designed around the needs of the owners. Some buildings require advanced industrial glass to meet the criteria; this is where curved glass steps in. A window of opportunity has opened up, facilitating the architectural intent of curved features and organic shapes because of new fabrication technologies. Curved glass is defined as a glass that has been reshaped to the desired bend by heating. It comes in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms. A two-dimensional glass runs in one direction to create a cylindrical form. Curved glass is called three dimensional if a multi-directional bend results in a complex curvature like a dome.
A 2D curved glass is more accessible and cost-effective than the latter. A computer numerically controlled or CNC manufacturing equipment is used to form a one-directional curve from flat glass. This flat piece of glass is stretched and compressed in different directions to form the 3D glass. A specialized steel tool is required to define the glass piece’s shape for its production. Therefore, the 3D method of manufacturing curved glass requires a lot of time and labor.
Such customizations allow the curved glass to be used in spiral staircases, facades, revolving doors, to name a few.
Why curved glass?
Along with the visual appeal, designers worldwide use curved glass because of its efficiency in structural glazing applications. It makes the arching highly load resistant and minimizes deflections. Curved glass offers excellent solutions to architectural complexities and reduces the need for other building materials. Curved glass in architecture design carries many key benefits and is capable of enriching any building design.
Curved glass enriches a building with natural light due to its inherent transparent nature. The well placed curved glass allows light to travel through the building reducing the perceived external physical mass. One significant advantage of using curved glass over flat glass is its ability to play with light flow and maximize natural light penetration. A living or working environment can be made more pleasant with the presence of natural lighting. With the addition of a special thermal coating on the glass, It can also help reduce energy consumption.
Curved glass is super aesthetic. Its flow and flexibility provide an unmatched level of creativity in designing. It is a highly versatile material and provides a limitless flair of opportunity and structural capability. It has even allowed architects to explore more fluid and organic concepts to further improve aesthetics.
- Durability and strength
As mentioned above, a properly engineered curvature in the panel makes it load resistant and reduces deflections. This makes it a preferable option for structures that require high durability and mechanical strength. A design using curved glass also reduces the need for other materials that otherwise might be required for maintaining structural integrity. This can result in cost reduction in some cases. Along with overall durability, the tempering of this industrial glass can guard it against temperature variations also.
The production cost of bent glass is comparatively less as compared to other specialized glasses in the market. With the right technology, designers can challenge the building norms and create cost-effective as well as out of the box designs. Curved glass has allowed architects to push the envelope and give manufacturers a tough challenge. Although it requires advanced technology and in-depth knowledge for its manufacturing yet, it is a fundamental component while achieving unique design features. To achieve results for a well-executed project, collaborative effort is needed at the design stage between a manufacturer, architect, and a glazing contractor. Curved glass provides excellent design and performance possibilities for projects which require both performance and aesthetics. Curved glass can reshape architecture in unimaginable ways.