Glass or glazed facades are one of the most recognizable and intriguing components of modern architecture. The use of glass in the exterior of a building provides more light and good ambiance to the users of the building which also gives rise to the increasing use of glass. 

So, no matter how you look at it, glass is a clear choice among today’s commercial architects and designers. From sports arenas to malls and hotels to healthcare facilities, people are incorporating glass in the facades. Below are the few myths about glass facades/ glazed facades buildings that have proven to be false. 

Debunking Myths: 5 myths about Glass Facades/ Glazed Facades buildings - Sheet1
Glass Facades or Glazed Facades are Too Expensive_igsmag.com
  • Glass Facades or Glazed Facades are Too Expensive

We often hear that glass or glazed facades are too expensive. However, it is important to realize that there are many factors that determine the price of a structural glass façade. The module height and width, points of support, glass thickness and performance, are important factors to consider before determining whether or not a glass façade would be expensive. 

These factors should be considered based on building and site requirements such as wind load, live load, seismic criteria, and so on. Finding the type of glass that is right for your project depends on the unique requirements of a building. For example, the type of glass you choose can strike a balance with visible light transmittance, thermal performance, and the type and size of the HVAC mechanical heating and cooling systems used. 

Debunking Myths: 5 myths about Glass Facades/ Glazed Facades buildings - Sheet2
Low Cost Glass Facade_glassandstainless.com

This may provide cost savings in building overhead and maintenance by downsizing the HVAC systems by using more expensive and high-performance coated glass. This is why it is important that you have a system supplier on board in the design process. 

  • Skylighting is the Same as Daylighting

Many people confuse these two terms as they believe that the difference is very minute. However, the truth is extremely different than the myth. While it is true that both use daylight to light up the interior of a building, they are different terms referring to different usage in the industry. 

Daylighting refers to the broad category of lighting up the interior with natural lighting. Whereas, skylighting refers to a method under this category. In simpler words, daylight is the light from the sun while skylight is a fenestration in the roof or ceiling to allow natural light to travel in the interior. 

Debunking Myths: 5 myths about Glass Facades/ Glazed Facades buildings - Sheet3
Skylight_architonic.com

You can think of skylighting as a subset of daylighting, where sunlight enters the building through the installation of glass on certain portions of the roof. So, skylighting is one of the many methods that are used to achieve daylighting in buildings. 

  • A Glass is of Bad Quality if it Breaks

This is another common misconception in the industry that has been going on for a while. However, it isn’t always true that glass would be of bad quality if it breaks. Most processed glass goes through an internal quality check before it is being deemed suitable for use. Ignoring the quality of glass, there are various reasons due to which, glass can break. 

This includes environmental factors and how the glass is being used. Environmental factors could also result in damaging the glass. Other factors include mishandling, wrong installation method, varying temperatures the glass is exposed to, and the framing system. 

Debunking Myths: 5 myths about Glass Facades/ Glazed Facades buildings - Sheet4
Broken Glass_buildsitepro.blogspot.com
  • Burglars Can Easily Break into the Buildings with Glass Facades

This myth surfaced due to the conventional design of buildings with double-glazed windows. They have external beading to hold the glass in place which could easily be removed to enter a building. However, with the new technologies being introduced in the industry, glasses are equipped with internal beading and a top-quality locking mechanism that would prevent thieves from breaking in. 

  • Glass Facade Should not be Used in Hot Climates

It is common for a glass façade to allow a huge quantity of natural light to enter the interiors. This is why people are afraid to install more glass in their buildings for fear of increasing the internal temperature of the building. This myth started due to the preconceived notions of using normal glasses in buildings that allowed UV rays and glare to enter the building, making the interior unbearable during summers. 

Debunking Myths: 5 myths about Glass Facades/ Glazed Facades buildings - Sheet5
Climate-adaptive Glass Facade_archdaily.com

Not only that, but due to the increased internal temperature, you would need high-performance air conditioners, which would increase your electricity bills significantly. However, technology has come a long way since then. Nowadays, you can see buildings with glass facades in places with hot climates. 

This is because they are built with special glazing suitable for hot climates that allow minimal UV rays and glare to enter. These high-performing glasses limit these factors and only allow optimum lighting to enter the building without increasing the electricity bills. This ensures that the natural light doesn’t turn into an element of discomfort during summers.

Reference List:

W&W Glass, LLC. 2021. What is Structural Glazing? | W&W Glass, LLC. [online] Available at: <https://www.wwglass.com/blog/post/what-is-structural-glazing/> [Accessed 5 June 2021].

The Economic Times. 2021. Pros and cons of glass facades. [online] Available at: <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/pros-and-cons-of-glass-facades/articleshow/14178517.cms?from=mdr> [Accessed 5 June 2021].

Journal. 2021. An Architect’s Guide To: Glazed Façades – Architizer Journal. [online] Available at: <https://architizer.com/blog/practice/details/specify-glazed-facades/> [Accessed 5 June 2021].

KG, s., AG, G. and o.o., P., 2021. Structural Design of a Glass Facade. [online] glassonweb.com. Available at: <https://www.glassonweb.com/article/structural-design-glass-facade#:~:text=Fa%C3%A7ade%20is%20a%20French%20origin,view%20to%20the%20building%20itself.> [Accessed 5 June 2021].

Images:

  1. [image] Available at: <https://igsmag.com/features/le-cristallin-solar-controlled-glass-facade/> [Accessed 5 June 2021].
  2. [image] Available at: <https://www.glassandstainless.com/> [Accessed 5 June 2021].
  3. [image] Available at: <https://www.architonic.com/en/story/katharina-sommer-above-us-only-sky-velux-modular-skylights/20082449> [Accessed 5 June 2021].
  4. [image] Available at: <http://buildsitepro.blogspot.com/2015/11/interested-in-curtain-wall-protection.html> [Accessed 5 June 2021].
  5. [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/922537/smart-facades-buildings-that-adapt-to-the-climate-through-their-skin> [Accessed 5 June 2021].
Avatar
Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

Write A Comment