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"Hang Out" In These Extraordinary Peruvian Sky Pods

Adventure seekers have yet another reason to visit the Peruvian Andes; Peru-based tour company Natura Vive is now offering a luxurious night's stay 400-feet above the Inca Empire in these glass sky pods. Visitors can access the "Skylodge" by scrabbling up the mountainside. After staying the night, and indulging in some fine dining on top their 192-square-feet room, visitors return Peru's famed Sacred Valley via a series of (terrifying) zip lines. 

Paris Approves Plans to Build Herzog & de Meuron's "Triangle Tower"

Paris has approved its first tower in over 40 years; the city council has agreed to move forward with Herzog & de Meuron's 180-meter-tall "Triangle Tower" - or "Tour Triangle" - after initially rejecting the proposal last year. The controversial plans have been the center of an intense debate since its unveiling in 2008 on whether or not Paris should preserve its 19-century skyline. 

As Gizmodo reports, the Swiss architects sold the tower to the city by claiming its glass facade will "disappear" into the skyline.

“Almost everything the architects say has one message: This building is invisible,” as Foreign Policy pointed out last year. “As if to reinforce this strange duality, the renderings omit Paris’s one true existing skyscraper: the wildly unpopular Tour Montparnasse, built in 1973.”

SageGlass Unveils Latest Developments in Smart Glass Technology

With the demands of sustainability today placing tight restrictions on performance metrics such as how airtight a building is, one of the sacrifices that often has to be made is user control. Windows are often no longer openable; shades and blinds often replaced with non-openable louvers. In recent years new technology such as smart glass (sometimes called "switchable glass) has promised a modicum of compromise, allowing windows to be tinted on demand. But smart glass is limited - it's either on or off, clear or tinted.

Until now, that is. At the AIA convention in MaySageGlass revealed a range of innovations that greatly increase the options available to designers when specifying smart glass.

Competition Entry: AECOM Proposes Transport Center for Solana Beach

AECOM has designed a preliminary study for a mixed-use transportation development in Solana Beach, California, as part of a response for a RFP (Request for Proposal). Located near major roads and connected to railroads, the project proposal consists of a combination of retail stores and restaurants, providing transit users with leisure spaces on their travels, in addition to parking for the nearby AMTRAK train station. 

Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio

AECOM's Basketball Training Facility Encases a Diverse Range of Program in LA

AECOM has designed a $42,000,000 campus and training facility for a professional basketball organization in West Los Angeles. The building contains a basketball arena, corporate headquarters, a hall of fame, and gardens, among other programs. Despite the building’s varied uses, AECOM was determined to make it “basketball centric.”

Courtesy of AECOM Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Interior Court Render / AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio

China Set to Open World’s Longest and Highest Glass-Bottom Bridge

China will soon finish construction on what will be the world’s tallest and longest glass pedestrian bridge, floating 300 meters above a canyon in the Zhangjiajie National Park. Designed by Israeli architect, Haim Dotan, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge will be 380 meters long, six meters wide and feature a transparent glass floor.

“The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge was designed to be invisible as possible--a white bridge disappearing into the clouds,” said Dotan.

Watch These Italian Artisans Create Bubble-Wrap Inspired Glass

For Maya Lapp and Denis Perera, owners of the company Glass MaDe in the Italian town of Belluno, bubble wrap is just about the most everyday material they know. It is the utilitarian material they use to protect their products from damage - yet despite this, it still holds a certain amount of fascination, resulting in their latest project, "Fragile." This video by Studio Meddle shows the making of the project, as the glassmaking duo create a mold of the bubble wrap, cast the glass and finally drape the resulting product over a wrinkled wire mesh to create an almost eery facsimile of the original, subverting our usual expectations of the familiar bubble pattern. Check out Studio Meddle's Video above (make sure the captions are turned on), and see more images of the completed work after the break.

Courtesy of Studio Meddle Courtesy of Studio Meddle Courtesy of Studio Meddle Courtesy of Studio Meddle

The World’s Longest (and Scariest) Glass Skywalk Opens in China

The world’s longest glass skywalk has been inaugurated in China, jutting off the edge of a 718-meter tall cliff in the Longgang National Geological Park in Chongqing, reports CCTV. Aptly named Yuanduan, which means “at the end of the clouds,” the horseshoe-shaped walkway offers visitors stunning (and a bit terrifying) views of the surrounding mountains and canyon below. Extending for more than 26 meters off the cliff’s edge, the bridge is five meters longer than the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Only 30 tourists will be allowed on the bridge at a time. View a gallery of photos at The Daily Mail

Material Minds: Digital Ceramic Printing in MVRDV's Glass Farm

If you search the web for information on MVRDV's Glass Farm, you'll find plenty of people writing about the project's 33-year history, and about its context in the small town of Schijndel. You'll even find plenty of people theorizing on the nature of those glass walls, and the relationships between image and authenticity and between modern technology and modest tradition. But strangely, you'll find almost no information on how the project made use of Digital Ceramic Printing, a relatively new process which was able to handle the many colors, variable transparency and fine tolerances required to display an entire farmhouse facade across a thousand glass panels.

In this new installment of our Material Minds series, presented by ArchDaily Materials, we spoke to MVRDV's project leader on the Glass Farm Gijs Rikken, and to Niv Raz, an Architect at Dip-Tech - the company who produces the printers, ink, software and support required for the process.

© MVRDV © MVRDV © MVRDV © Persbureau van Eijndhoven

"Weight, Pride and Creativity" in Daniel Elis Karlsson and Pauline Algeröd's "Bärande Möte"

In the the former shipbuilding city of Gothenburg on Sweden's west coast stands Daniel Ellis Karlsson and Pauine Algeröd's "Bärande Möte," a glass and concrete wind shelter and pavilion.

Concrete beams are suspended in midair by load-bearing glass walls, inverting the traditional structural hierarchy between the two materials and allowing uninterrupted river views. Read more about the project and view selected images after the break.

"Why Are There Not Skyscrapers with a 100-Foot Curtain Wall of Art Glass?"

Most contemporary architects probably don't spend too long thinking about stained glass in their everyday practice - and for the "art glass" industry, that's becoming a big problem. In a fascinating article for the Wall Street Journal, Timothy W Martin carefully examines an industry that has been in decline for decades, ever since glass designer Kenneth von Roenn warned them in a 1970s conference speech that it was "time to jump ship" and diversify from their work in religious buildings.

UK Start-Up Hopes to Manufacture World's First Intelligent All-Glass Living Suite

UK start-up company The Photon Project has announced its plan to launch the Photon Space, the world's first intelligent all-glass living unit. Motivated by the major positive benefits that natural light can have on our energy levels, sleep pattern and overall health, the goal of the Photon Space is to create a dwelling that allows its occupants a maximum connection to the outside world.

Posited as an ideal addition to hotels, spas, health retreats, medical centres, and other resorts, the skin of the Photon Space is made of smart glass supported by curving glass beams, switching from transparent to opaque in seconds with the help of an iPhone app.

Courtesy of The Photon Project Courtesy of The Photon Project The Photon Space at sunset. Image Courtesy of The Photon Project Courtesy of The Photon Project

Material Masters: Glass is More with Mies van der Rohe

To celebrate the first anniversary of our US Materials Catalog, this week ArchDaily is presenting a three-part series on "Material Masters," showing how certain materials have helped to inspire some of the world's greatest architects.

Mies van der Rohe, famous for his saying “less is more,” was one of the preeminent modernist architects, well known for pioneering the extensive use of glass in buildings. His works introduced a new level of simplicity and transparency, and his buildings were often referred to as "skin-and-bones" architecture for their emphasis on steel structure and glass enclosure. In addition to Mies van der Rohe, glass was a major influence for many architects of the modernist movement and reshaped the way we think about and define space. Today, glass has become one of the most used building materials, but its early architectural expression is perhaps best exemplified in the works of Mies.

Cristina Parreño Investigates the Tectonics of Transparency With Glass Wall Prototype

Architect and MIT Lecturer Cristina Parreño has created this new prototype for a self-supporting glass facade, entitled "The Wall." The design is the first in Parreño's "Tectonics of Transparency," a series of planned prototypes that will "explore the relationship between formal design, spatial perception, structural efficiency and systems of fabrication."

More details about Parreño's prototype after the break

© John Horner © John Horner © Jane Messinger © John Horner

Norman Foster's Interview with The European: “Architecture is the Expression of Values”

Berlin-based editor Max Tholl of The European Magazine has shared with us his interview with Norman Foster on the role of architecture in today’s society. 

The European: Lord Foster, architects design buildings that will characterize cities for decades or even centuries to come. How difficult is it to design buildings for an unknown future?

Foster: Flexibility is a key consideration. We design with an awareness that circumstances will change – that a building’s context will evolve; it may be used in different ways and will need to incorporate new technologies that we cannot yet predict.

The complete interview, after the break. 

Amsterdam's Glass Music Hall Faces Demolition, Seeks Home

Courtesy of Octatube
Courtesy of Octatube

A mere twenty-five years after its inauguration, the Glass Music Hall at the former Exchange of Berlage in Amsterdam is looking for a new home, where it will be relocated and reassembled for free. The innovative space, originally designed for the Dutch Chamber Music Orchestra, has garnered international attention and multiple awards, but sadly no longer meets the needs of the facility. 

Designed by architect Pieter Zaanen and structural designer Mick Eekhout, the Glass Music Hall sits in the center of an existing space, defying stereotypes about what glass can do. Being a hard material, the reverberation time in a blunt glass hall would be approximately 5 seconds. However, this number was brought down to 1 or 2 seconds in this instance, proving glass can be used to create a fantastical acoustical environment. 

How Safe Are Glass Skyscrapers Really?

Imagine standing on a glass platform with Chicago 1300 feet directly below. Suddenly, the glass holding you begins to crack. This actually happened to Alejandro Garibay at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) just last week. Luckily, Garibay wasn't hurt, but the occurrence begs the question: how safe is glass - the most common material used in skyscrapers nowadays - really? Karrie Jacobs At Fast Company - Design, asked materials experts to find out "The Truth Behind Building With Glass."  

Foster + Partners’ Unfinished Vegas Tower Approved for Demolition

A court approved ruling has sealed the fate of Foster + Partners’ half-built Harmon Hotel in Las Vegas. Unfinished due to structural defects, the 27-story glass tower was once envisioned to be the staple of the $8.5 billion CityCenter entertainment complex. However, since problems arose in 2008, the stunted hotel and casino has instead served as a glorified billboard. 

Though it has yet to be determined who will be blamed for the faulty construction, owner MGM Resorts International has been granted permission to dismantle the blue glass building floor-by-floor at a cost of $11.5 million.