Building Materials: Basics of Architectural Glass in Construction

Archian Design Architect Studio Bacolod City

Building Materials: Basics of Architectural Glass in Construction

Color Laminated Glass

Color Laminated Glass

Color Laminated Glass

Color Laminated Glass

When I was young, I was fascinated by different textures of colored glass. Our family collected the wine bottles and made them as water containers. They come in dark green and brown color. But as I grew I recognized that glass played an important role in our lives.

As I moved into college, I found that there are principally two kinds of walls: Concrete walls and openings with glass panels. The windows played an essential in regulating the environment inside the buildings. They allow natural light and ventilation.

Laminated Glass Canopy with spider

Laminated Glass Canopy with spider

There are 3 categories of Glass:

  1. Annealed glass is the most common and available type of glass.
  2. Heated or Tempered Glass is annealed glass which is heated and slowly cooled to make it 2 times stronger (heat-strenghene glass) or heated and undergoes high pressured cooling to make it 4x stronger (tempered glass)
  3. Laminated glass is a compound glazing made of one or more sheets of glass bond together by a plastic layer. The plastic layer can acts as protection from ultraviolet rays and attenuates vibration.

The picture below illustrates the difference between annealed, tempered and laminated glass when breaking.

Difference between Annealed tempered and laminated glass

Difference between Annealed tempered and laminated glass


Laminated glass as Stair Tread

Laminated glass as Stair Tread

The technology of using glass for natural light and ventilation goes as far back as the middle ages. The Romans extensively used glass in their buildings and had manufacturing centered in Trier, in modern day Germany. The concept of windows continue to this day.

The artistry and expertise in working with glass has also advanced as shown in the above. The artistry and expertise is learned through experience and research. Proper orientation of the site to determine wind and sun direction together with proper site lines and imagination can make the difference between a common window, and a view worth dying for. These modern day wizards of space and light are called architects. 🙂

Modern Forest Glass House

Modern Forest Glass House

Through training and experience, architects are physical poets of space, light and form like a director unveils a story and like a conductor leads an orchestra.

Archian Designs Architect Studios believes that any site must be maximized in terms of views and experience. This does not mean to create a building of full glass like curtain walls, but to understand how closing one wall and opening another affects the experience of the occupant.

This is real architecture.

Building Curtain Walls are discussed more on this Article: Preparation for Curtain Walls on Commercial Buildings

Interplay of Wall and Light

Interplay of Wall and Light

Other applications of glass include glass blocks, coated glass, tinted glass and double glazing.

  1. Coated Glass is glass encapped with a reflective or low-emissivity (low-E) coating which improves thermal performance of the glass by redirecting solar radiation.
  2. Tinted Glass are glass that contain special minerals that provides color.
  3. Double Glazing is a system of glass panel which consist of two panels of glass and an intermediate air layer. This system reduces heat gain and loss, and acts as an acoustic barrier.
  4. Glass blocks are hollow non load bearing units made of glass. They are the transparent counterpart of concrete hollow blocks.
  5. Curtain Walls are modular glass facade systems that cover the face of several floors. Read the whole article: Preparation for Curtain Walls

 Proper Choice of Glass and perfect positioning of elements cause the overall effect of architecture delight.

Ian Jay Bantilan

Try how we can make your House “Sweeter”.

Archian Designs Architect Studios is a Collaboration of Architects, Urban Planners, Interior Designers, Landscape Designers and Engineers in the Philippines. To see the contact information, email to, or call 09778278415.

About Archian
An Architect, Blogger and Strategic Thinker

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