“For us, learning the way light and glass work together has been truly rewarding. Glass is performance art from its fluidity to the way it scatters light in space. We are making spaces to put people in touch with the magic of glass.” -Thomas Phifer, Architect.

Architecture – both indoors and out, is unimaginable without the use of glass. 

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Town House in Antwerp / Sculp[IT]_ ©Luc Roymans.(no date). Town House in Antwerp / Sculp[IT]. [Photograph]
The continuous development of glass production and processing technologies and the continuous improvement of “application-ready” products play a decisive role in meeting increasing functional requirements and in the search for new aesthetic expressions.

Many spectacular architectural projects and novel design concepts have sparked the development of the field. Improvements in planning and simulation tools have simplified implementations and even made them possible. The development of other technical disciplines in the construction industry has also paved the way for innovative glass products.

In addition, in recent years, other time-honoured manufacturing and processing methods have been refined and improved, resulting in significant increases in the quality and availability of glass produced, as well as variety and size.

12mm glass is the term for a safety glass that is strengthened due to controlled thermal heating in a furnace, after which ordinary glass is five times stronger without losing any clarity. Even if it shatters at a very high impact, it shatters into very small harmless pieces. Architects love tempered glass because it gives them the freedom to use oversized glass to make interior spaces look spacious.

The Science Behind 12mm Glass

This thermal tempering process works by rapidly cooling the outer surface of the glass to put it in compression while the inside is under tension as it remains hot. Because of this compressive strength, when tempered glass is severely impacted, it shatters into small blunt pieces rather than jagged shards of glass. This makes tempered glass safer than regular glass, as it is less likely to cause harm in the rare event of breakage.

Properties Of 12mm Glass

1) Resistance to Thermal Breakage

The heat from sunlight causes the glass to expand and contract at inconsistent rates. This creates stress in the glass and can lead to cracking. But one can prevent the risk of thermal damage by using 12mm glass. This glass also has excellent heat resistance.

     2) Toughness

12mm glass is manufactured when ordinary glass is exposed to extreme heat and then rapidly cooled. As a result of this overheating and cooling process, the chemical composition of the glass changes, making it more elastic.

    3) Strength

They are known to be four to five times stronger than annealed glass and three times stronger than heat-strengthened glass. Depending on the installation location, framed or unframed 12mm glass is available.


1) Use framed 12mm glass for a meeting room or boardroom walls and frameless glass for cabin entry doors.

2) For privacy, 12mm glass can be sandblasted or acid etched to produce frosted glass.

3) Back-painted glass is especially popular as room dividers and dividers. The back-painted glass panels are fun to break up large, flat walls and fill otherwise empty spaces.

4) 12mm glass doors for larger shower doors, larger shelves, dining and meeting table tops, glass walls and partitions

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The 12mm glass cut is more suitable for frameless, UV bonded glass showcases, display cases, range hoods and cubes. The thicker the edge, the more surface area available for UV bonded glass to glass. Many commercial interior glass applications, such as modular walls, also require thicker glass to withstand high stresses. 

Price Range: India ₹129/sqft

Case Study: 

Apple Fifth Avenue

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Apple Store-Fifth Avenue_©Jorge Lascar. (2010).Apple Store-Fifth Avenue.

At the entrance to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York, a 10-meter-long panel glass cube designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects first opened in 2006.

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Apple Fifth Ave_©Peter Aaron. (no date).Apple Fifth Ave.

The cube is designed to motivate people into the store, creating a “Rite of Descending”, a grand entrance for noble visitors, rather than preventing people from entering the basement store. The glass load-bearing structure initially consisted of 24 vertical glass fins and 10 horizontal glass fins, made of 5X12mm heat-strengthened prestressed glass with a maximum glass panel length of 6.90 meters.

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Apple Fifth Ave_©Roy Zipstein.(no date).Apple Fifth Ave.
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Apple Fifth Ave_©Peter Aaron. (no date).Apple Fifth Ave.

In the realization of this project, titanium connectors were incorporated into laminate components for the first time. These connectors virtually invisibly secure the vertical seams of the outer pane to the glass fins. A higher degree of transparency is achieved by employing state-of-the-art glass technology with far fewer connection points.

The use of an interlayer (SG film) with high shear strength enables the panel to retain its final shape and does not require the shape to provide a support structure. A significant advantage of lamination bending is the high optical quality of the glass since they are processed below the softening point of the glass and therefore have a very smooth surface compared to thermoforming.

Apple Fifth Ave_©Peter Aaron. (no date).Apple Fifth Ave.

Glass tends to blur the distinction between old and new, architecture and landscape. Even in low light, the intensity around the skylight is higher and gradually moves away from the skylight, giving the impression that natural light floods the interior.


  1. Apple store, fifth avenue – Bohlin cywinski Jackson (no date) Bcj.com
  2. “Toughened glass — know properties, benefits, and applications” (2020) Aisglass.com. AIS Glass, 15 February.
  3. Lee, E. et al. (no date) High-Performance Commercial Building FaçadesOsti.gov.
  4. Glass, D. (2021) “Thick glass vs. Thin glass,” Dillmeierglass.com. Dillmeier Glass Company, 7 December.
  5. Pintos, P. (2019) Apple store fifth avenue / Foster + PartnersArchDaily
  6. Values, O. (no date) Inspired by GlassCorning.com.

Image Citation

  1. Image 1_Town House in Antwerp / Sculp[IT]_ ©Luc Roymans.(no date). Town House in Antwerp / Sculp[IT]. [Photograph]
  2. Image 2_ ©Howarth, D. (2015) Tokujin Yoshioka designs all-glass wardrobe for Glas ItaliaDezeen.
  3. Image3_ Apple Store-Fifth Avenue_©Jorge Lascar. (2010).Apple Store-Fifth Avenue.[Photograph]
  4. Image 4_Apple Fifth Ave_©Peter Aaron. (no date).Apple Fifth Ave.[Photograph]
  5. Image 5_ Apple Fifth Ave_©Roy Zipstein.(no date).Apple Fifth Ave.[Photograph]
  6. Image 6_ Apple Fifth Ave_©Peter Aaron. (no date).Apple Fifth Ave.[Photograph]
  7. Image 7_ Apple Fifth Ave_©Peter Aaron. (no date).Apple Fifth Ave.[Photograph]

Akshita Gahlaut is an architect based in Delhi who strongly believes in the ability of the architecture and research combined with design thinking. She is an avid learner who has a penchant for understanding different fields within the architecture and aspires to promote sustainable development.

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