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China's First All-Glass Suspension Bridge Opens in Hunan

This (terrifying) 300-meter-long bridge is the first in China to be made of all glass. Suspended 180-meters above ground between two cliffs at Hunan's Shiniuzhai National Geological Park, the Haohan Qiao - Brave Men's Bridge - was originally meant to be wood, before being constructed with 24mm thick glass that is 25 times stronger than normal.

"The bridge we build will stand firm even if tourists are jumping on it," said a worker to China News Service. "The steel frame used to support and encase the glass bridge is also very strong and densely built, so even if a glass is broken, travelers won't fall through."

This Improvement to Channel Glass Makes Curved Glass Walls Easier than Ever

A lot of architects love glass. A lot of architects love curves too. The two can be combined, but in most cases this is a highly bespoke and expensive process, with individual sheets of glass being heated in a kiln over a mold created especially to fit the desired curve. Cheaper options are available though, and one common approach is to use smaller sections of flat glass - often a U-shaped channel section - angled to approximate a curve.

But this strategy also leads to a problem: as the desired curve gets tighter, the gaps between the glass segments get more and more apparent and less efficient as enclosure. To address this problem, German designer Holger Jahns has created "c--c," an update to standard U-shaped channel glass which can be fixed together at any angle and create any curve without gaps appearing between the panels.

© Holger Jahns © Holger Jahns By contrast, c--c can easily adapt to a wide range of curves. Image © Holger Jahns © Holger Jahns

Mediated Matter's New Platform 3D Prints Glass with Stunning Precision

Glass can be molded, formed, blown, plated, sintered and now 3D printed. Neri Oxman and her Mediated Matter Group team has just unveiled their new glass printing platform: G3DP: Additive Manufacturing of Optically Transparent Glass. A collaboration with the Glass Lab at MIT, G3DP is the first of its kind and can 3D print optically transparent glass with stunning precision. 

"G3DP is an additive manufacturing platform designed to print optically transparent glass," Oxman told ArchDaily. "The tunability enabled by geometrical and optical variation driven by form, transparency and color variation can drive; limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction, and therefore carries significant implications for all things glass: aerodynamic building facades optimized for solar gain, geometrically customized and variable thickness lighting devices and so on."

View Dynamic Glass Raises $150 Million to Create Windows with Responsive Tint

View has raised $150 million to fund their specialized Dynamic Glass tints. The new technology automatically responds to outdoor conditions or from a mobile phone, resulting in a reactive tint that reduces heat and glare. This, as the company said in a press release, allows for "greater occupant comfort and energy savings without ever compromising the view." The tinted windows have been installed in more than 100 locations across North America. The funds will be used to accelerate product development. 

ARO and Heery Design Nippert Stadium Expansion for University of Cincinnati

Architecture Research Office (ARO) and Heery International have designed the West Pavilion, a 115,000 square-foot extension to the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. Set at one of America’s most historic college football venues, the new expansion will stretch 450 feet in length —about half of the stadium—and “will introduce the program’s first true premium seating, club spaces, and high-end press facilities.”

In addition to being a part of university-wide expansions, the project is the centerpiece of the $86 million renovation of Nippert Stadium itself, which includes adding more restrooms and concessions, and better pedestrian circulation.

Courtesy of The University of Cincinnati Courtesy of The University of Cincinnati Courtesy of The University of Cincinnati Courtesy of The University of Cincinnati

"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.