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When Glass in Architecture is Twice as Durable as Steel

What would you do within your design if you had access to glass in architecture that was stronger and more durable than steel? Would you span longer distances with it? Create more transparent and “warped” forms with it? Or might you even create new combinations of perceptual intrigue — like a transparent cantilever which extends outward further, or a transparent building base which makes all that is above it appear to “float”.

Such questions in architectural design are important to ask yourself as a way to get you thinking “outside of the box”. So often, after using the same materials in very similar ways over and over again, you as an architect may forget, over time, to push the boundaries of what certain materials (like glass) can do.

So I invite you to take the materials and other architectural elements that you work with, and turn them on their head. Ask yourself what you would do if light could be laser focused within your design. Ask yourself what would happen if certain elements like windows could become transient. Ask yourself what you would do with glass in architecture that was twice as durable and as strong as steel. The key is to ask yourself unlikely questions that at first may seem either impossible or improbable — but if you pause to think about them for a moment, you may be surprised by the spark of innovative and useful ideas they can generate.

While you may not be able to directly use all of your ideas and answers to these questions immediately, it will definitely get you thinking beyond your current limitations. And don’t forget that even if you can’t make glass replace structure today, there may be other ways to achieve similar effects. The key is to see the tools and materials you design with from new perspectives. This will keep your ideas fresh, and innovation always within reach.

Simply take a look at the following video to see how one idea (from Minority Report) is now being translated into designs today — this new Media Glass (which is a laser hologram on glass) is making its way into cars, electronic devices and our environments. Take a look:

 
Image Credit: © on1stsite | Flickr

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