In 1977, a New York Times article by Carter B. Horsley proclaimed that “Glamorous Glass Bricks Are Booming:” once a “less than first-class” material, it was beginning to gain acceptance among architects in residential and restaurant projects for its translucence, privacy, visual interest, and sense of order. However, following the industry’s brief but widespread use of glass bricks, many now associate the material with outdated 80’s architectural styles, an aesthetic that few seem interested in reviving. Yet pioneering contemporary architects have begun using this unique material in new and distinctly modern ways, whether for sleek and minimalist bathrooms, industrial bars and restaurants, vintage residential windows, or even experimental urban facades. As Horsley stated, it appears that glamorous glass bricks are booming – again.
Glass Facade: The Latest Architecture and News
In an effort to avoid disruptions to the coming football season (and by extension, any frustration among the passionate University of Iowa Hawkeyes’ fans), the challenge facing Iowa City architecture firm Neumann Monson was to rapidly deliver and install Kinnick Stadium’s new custom glass facade, all during the team’s off-season. Ranked top among Big 10 stadiums, Kinnick opened the 2019 football season with an expanded North End Zone after careful coordination by the design, manufacturing, and construction teams throughout the project.
Last April, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the construction of new all-glass buildings. Part of a larger effort to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent, other initiatives included using clean energy to power city operations, mandatory organics recycling, and reducing single-use plastic and processed meat purchases. The announcement came on the heels of the city council passing the Climate Mobilization Act, a sweeping response to the Paris Climate Agreement that included required green roofs on new constructions and emissions reductions on existing buildings.
Germany’s first wooden high-rise, the “Wildspitze,” is being designed by Störmer Murphy and Partners. At 18 stories and 64 meters high, this residential tower will be one of Europe’s largest urban development projects.
Located in Elbbrücken, a peninsula neighborhood within Hamburg's HafenCity, Wildspitze will add 189 residential units on its riverside site. Each apartment will feature a loggia behind a double glass facade.