A NEW AGE OF GLASS FOR ARCHITECTURE WITH PLASTICS
In times of gloomy crisis, dark future and opaque globalisation, one wishes for transparency and is not so surprised that glass architecture holds such a tremendous appeal for architects…
ITALIAN RENAISSANCE OF ARCHITECTURE
Mediaset, Italy‟s foremost private media company, has recently carried out an important face-
lift to its Milanese headquarters setting a new example of architectural innovation and becoming a communication emblem.
In another region, High Adige, a new Museum of Modern Art wears transparency as a deluxe garment.
IN MILAN, COMMUNICATION CALLS FOR TRANPARENCY
In Mediaset‟s new impressive design, the dominating element is the ventilated curved façade, a „double-skin‟ in laminated safety glass and plastics interlayer.
The outcome is a work of art for the most important media company in Italy that features a striking visual impact and acts as an enduring protection for the building.
A double skin is a sandwich made of a slice of 1,52mm of plastics within two slices of 8 mm glass, the inside one tempered and the outer one screen printed.
From a distance the façade looks like an opaque reflecting surface and when one gets closer, the opacity magically transforms into an ethereal clarity that reveals the protected original construction.
TECHNOLOGY AND MAGIC
The plastics interlayer is so resistant that it allowed an almost invisible steel structure to be used with new metal fixing devices of extremely reduced dimensions for the glass panels. This innovative system was made in order to have minimal impact on the appearance of the glass façade, and to provide high quality performance and structural resistance. “It allowed us to reduce the overall weight of the laminated glass panels and to use an almost
invisible steel support. Another fundamental issue was that of providing increased safety with continuing protection in case of glass breakage and fallout. The interlayer ensures the integrity of the glass façade thanks to its excellent post breakage performance and mechanical properties, features that it maintains even at high temperatures”, Paolo Mariottoni, engineer and glass structural design specialist, specified.
The plastics safety interlayer played a key role in the making of the 1500 square meter large „double skin‟ façade in front of the Mediaset building. This exterior protection is a remarkable construction built by CNS spa (Milan) and designed by the architect Franco De Nigris (Axistudio Milano).
For the imposing vertical surface, Paolo Mariottoni and CNS designed an almost invisible steel structure to be used with new metal fixing devices of extremely reduced dimensions for the glass panels. The objective was to have minimal impact on the appearance of the glass façade, and to provide high quality performance and structural resistance.
EVERYBODY IS HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME
Mediaset‟s employees love their new building, the builder is all the prouder that he was awarded with the Special Prize at the „2008 RE Real Estate Awards‟, the Italian „Oscars‟ for
architecture and construction projects of significant proportions. And the Finance director is immensely satisfied to know that thanks to the mechanical properties of the interlayer, it has been possible to reduce the weight of the glass and consequently of the supporting structure for a very long time and even under extreme heats such as those happening in Italy.
IN BOLZANO, ART IS BOTH OUTSIDE AND INSIDE …
Italy has always been an artistic country. It still is and always will be since it promotes the art of to-morrow. Venice Biennale is not the only proof of this devotion. Today‟s news is in Bolzano, a town of double culture situated in what Italians name Alto Adigio and Germans South Tyrol. The event has a name: Museion.
A FUTURISTIC MUSEUM FOR MODERN ART
How to look modern without ever being out of date? Museion‟s creators, Berlin-based
architects KSV Krüger Schuberth Vandreike, answered this question by classicism: A stretched cube the length of which is encased in a metal envelope at the two front ends of which large, transparent windows open to the city and surrounding landscape. The „Museion‟ is not a mere receptacle for artwork, but an interdisciplinary international art laboratory.
Through the glazed entrance facade, the interior of the museum, with its exhibition floors, library, education centre, shop and information point are visible from the outside. The double glazing which forms the transparent and spatially-unmistakable entry and shop window to the „Museion‟, also performs essential technical functions. The space between the
glazing is used as an active climatic envelope. Circulating within it is air on its way between the roof and the mechanical equipment room in the basement, facilitating the efficient use of energy used for temperature control.
In addition, manoeuvrable mat glass slats, integrated in the same space, are used to modulate the ingression of daylight to the building, enabling the best possible presentation of the exhibits in line with their character.
Then, after dark, the slats – at the press of a button – transform the glass facades into giant
projection surfaces for projectors installed within the museum.
GOD KNOWS PRAYER LEADS TO LIGHT
A new setting has been created for the most important services of the Protestant parish of the Diaconesses, near Paris (France). The sisters wanted to place the chapel project firmly in the 21st century and “offer modern people an interior that combines beauty, intimacy and celebration, inviting them to reflect and find peace.”
PRAISE THE NATURE FOR PRAYING
This religious building designed by French architect Marc Rolinet opens itself up to the environment through the subtle interplay of glass and wood. It follows the uneven topography of the site and creates access at two levels. An upturned wooden shell forms the oblong contemporary chapel, built of superimposed pine strips that were individually steam-curved on site.
This organically shaped chapel curls up inside a voluminous glass structure with a triangular base that is protected from hot sunlight by a horizontal roof, also made of wooden strips. The walking space between the chapel and its transparent envelope is meant to invite meditation and offer a direct link with the surrounding park dotted with tall trees. This bioclimatic envelope filters and exploits the natural daylight entering through 360 degrees.
MONEY MONEY MONEY
The choice of a glass laminated with a plastics structural interlayer had a positive effect on the overall construction costs because, to offer the same mechanical strength, glazing of the same size and without it, would have had to be thicker. That would have meant additional costs both for the glazing and the structural elements, since they would have had to bear a correspondingly higher load. The architectural benefit is also apparent, because this solution enables optimum glazing sizes without any influence on the supporting structure.
THE LESS YOU SEE, THE MORE TECHNICAL IT IS
The transparency and ethereal character of the building were enabled by using a plastics structural interlayer in the laminated safety glass for the two façades and the roof. This resisting plastics component enabled to reduce the glass thickness (even though long trapezoidal panels on the roof are 2.2 metres in length), increase the pitch and lighten the supporting structure.
The horizontal roof panels were made of insulating glass units composed of an outer layer made of 10mm thick tempered coated safety glass, providing enhanced heat insulation by acting as a heat shield, for an inside laminated safety glass made out of a 12mm tempered laminate, and in-between, a 1.52mm plastics structural interlayer and 8mm tempered glass. The outer and inner layers are separated by a 12mm air gap. The insulating glass in the façades has a laminated safety glass outerlayer with two 8mm tempered glass panels separated by the 1.52mm plastics interlayer. The innerlayer consists of 10mm tempered safety glass. Both layers are separated by a 16mm air gap.
The fixing devices were integrated directly into the laminated inner glass layer of the vertical panels. This attractive fixing system was made possible by the interlayer, which adds strength and provides more reliable framing for this large-scale application.
A SHARK HAS BITTEN A BUILDING IN BARCELONA
The coast of Barcelona (Spain) is a great place to stroll and admire the scenery. Amongst the marvels around, the sinuous, modern architecture of the new headquarters of Gas Natural Group is a striking one, especially its glass façade in the shape of a bite-mark, caused by an imaginary shark that could have risen from the adjacent Mediterranean Sea.
The dramatic architectural effect is created by 100 trapezoidal glass panels.
Some of these panels measure up to five by two metres in size.
They use a combination of strong and rigid plastics structural interlayers and an original fixation system to provide overhead glazing.
This allows a high safety factor and excellent post breakage properties.
The entire glass façade of this new Gas Natural buildings was designed, produced and installed by Permasteelisa España SA.
The new Gas Natural headquarters stands at the very place where the first gasworks were built in Spain 160 years ago. It was designed by local architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, whose agency MBT won the call for ideas with a proposal characterised by a spectacular 20-storey glass tower that has already become a landmark on the skyline of the Catalan capital.
Three further architectural structures make up the entire Gas Natural complex, each lending the building a strong personality and enabling the skyscraper to integrate into the surrounding city: one is a four-storey annexe in the shape of waterfall cascading to the sea; another is a cantilevered building projecting from the centre of the tower; and the last is the „capitel‟, with its distinctive bite-mark, which overhangs the main entrance to the building.
It is the under-side of this curved section, representing the indentations left in the building by the shark‟s teeth, that uses plastics interlayers over an area of approximately 220 square metres. A total of 100 trapezoidal laminated glass panels of different sizes are used, each comprising 8 mm tempered interior glass +1.52 mm plastics interlayer + 8 mm tempered exterior glass and produced by Spanish manufacturer Glass XXI.
“With the biggest panels measuring 5131 x 1820 millimetres, and despite their complex shape, we were able to demonstrate how the plastics interlayers become an engineered component within the glass, holding more weight, so the glass can serve as a more active structural element in the building envelope with a high degree of safety,” explains Luis Villanueva, general manager of the glass manufacturer.
GLASS STICKS AND STRUCTURE RESISTS
Post-breakage stability of the laminated glass was further enhanced by the adoption of the Puntpart Overhead Glazing?1 fixation system from Bellapart Engineering. The system is especially impressive, due to the unique ability of the interlayer to flow around the metal fixings and adhere to them, as well as to the glass, providing outstanding stiffness and strength. This allows use of a thinner overall glass construction which, at the same time, makes the overall glass laminate construction substantially more stable, even in hot summer temperatures of over 45?C.
AMONG INTERLAYERS, THE CHAMPION IS DUPONT
Plastics interlayers are the heroes of the laminated glass all over the world. In the DeLuxe category, high strength rigid DuPont?‟s SentryGlas? is undoubtedly an asset. Thanks to its high-strength performance, the glass panels can be made both thin and light enough to facilitate the use of particularly small point-supported fixtures – even for overhead
No wonder architects all over the world are so keen to use it: it gives them the greatest
freedom to imagine dreamlike aerial and transparent structures. But it‟s not a dream: they are