Recurrently we see how architects opt for translucent facades to create the envelopes of their buildings, promoting the entry of a large amount of natural light, while simultaneously controlling it during the day. Illuminated during the night, many of these projects can be seen in the dark, appearing as lanterns or lighthouses for their neighbors and community. Being exposed to changing conditions – day or night – to choose the right material, it's necessary to study in detail the orientation and location of the building, the pre-existing context, and the configuration of the interior spaces.
We present a system of glass panels that allow buildings with this type of façade –spanning from floor to ceiling without interruptions – with minimal frames and different colors, textures, thermal and acoustic performances.
In buildings that require high levels of natural lighting and where visual transparency is not an essential requirement, diffused light is an effective option for the cladding of their facades. In these cases, glare is avoided and homogeneous light is obtained in the interior spaces. Mixing textured glass channels with more transparent ones in the same frame can seamlessly create spaces with varying degrees of privacy.
Using self-supporting channel glass panels can provide the ability to construct curved façades or glazed corners without the need for visible vertical frames. In this way, the building maintains clean and continuous design lines, avoiding the incorporation of intermediate structural elements in sight. Each panel can reach 7 meters in height (23 ft).
The fairly low weight of the 7 mm (1/4”) channel glass, close to 1.8 kg/m2 (4 lbs/ft2), is preferable for buildings that have limits on their structural weight capacity. The light and modular glass channels can be handled by as few as 3 people without heavy equipment, facilitating and speeding up the installation process.
With a thermal transmittance (U-value) between 0.49 and 0.19, the glazed building can achieve a high thermal efficiency. The channel glass panels also present a good acoustic performance, reaching a sound transmission of STC43.
Section SD1 / Floor to Ceiling
Section SD2 / Joint Between Two Modules
Plan SD3 / Joint Between Modules
Plan SD4 / Corner Detail
Application in Built Projects
According to its architects, 'translucent channel glass was selected to subtly obscure occupants within and around the new building like an impressionist painting – blurring the distinction between new and old, building and landscape.'
In this case, the translucent facades have been placed on the lateral sides of the building – east and west – illuminated from the inside during the night and generating an intimate and contemplative environment to see the art through two large galleries.
Inspired by the glass explorations of Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe, Larry Bell, Dan Graham, Gerhard Richter and Damien Hirst, this house is an exercise of transparency, 'manifesting a maximum exposure with minimal environmental impact.'
'The lenses' multiple layers of translucent glass gather, diffuse, and refract light, at times materializing light like blocks of ice. During the day the lenses inject varying qualities of light into the galleries, while at night the sculpture garden glows with their internal light,' its architects say.