It has the ability to make a statement. The beauty of glass is something we’ve covered before, but there is a unique range of applications that go beyond purely the aesthetics of providing a view inside and out.Due to extreme levels of clarity, structural glazing may be so transparent that it may go unnoticed by design, or instead make a strong visual impact as the focal point of a building.
Using glass for art is nothing particularly new, but when you combine custom printed glass frit patterns with building facades, you can achieve something even greater. The Harlem Hospital Center in New York City is a great example of the kind of large scale structurally-glazed curtain wall project that uses digitally-printed fritted (silk-screened) glass to create an impressive work of art. The effect is heightened at night when the entire facade is backlit by the interior of the building.
The Elevated Acre Park Light Beacon, also located in New York City, is another great example of a unique structural glass application. Rising above the park, the glass-clad structure uses multi-colored backlighting against custom fritted glass panels to create an enticing aesthetic that prominently lights the park and transfixes the viewer.
Structural glass has applications within buildings. The Metlife Lobby Interior Wall uses low-iron laminated glass with a white silk-screened line pattern mounted onto stainless steel cables with custom point-support patch fittings. It creates an inviting lobby space between the escalators and the building entrance. The minimal amount of visible structure makes the wall appear to practically float in the space. The semi-transparency of the wall also prevents the two sections from being entirely closed off, retaining openness in the room while offering an acoustical benefit.
Structural glass can also be used to create large interior atrium lobby spaces. For example, the Pilkington Planar™ point-supported facade at 601 Massachusetts Avenue, NW in Washington, DC utilizes a structure of vertical stainless steel tension rods connected to a series of 87-foot horizontal steel pipe trusses (each fabricated and erected in one piece). The 9-story tall space utilizes monolithic low-iron glass. The enclosure is oriented at a southwest exposure and is highly transparent, letting a generous amount of daylight into the space. The lobby space is open and airy, serving as a direct connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces.
Glass has many more applications than just being a cladding element. With the right engineering competency, high quality fabricators and an experienced company at the helm, unique structural glazing system options are virtually limitless.
W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.