Architects are well aware of the practical benefits of glass brick for commercial architecture — benefits such as its security, its light transmitting qualities while retaining privacy, as well as for its thermal, fire and sound resistance. Glass brick is also immensely versatile and stunningly beautiful. Inspired by these aesthetic qualities, architects are using glass brick for commercial architecture in totally new ways, shattering old concepts, and designing buildings that are a pleasure to behold and spend time in. With glass brick, the architect is designing with light.
What is Glass Brick?
Glass brick is solid glass, made by pouring a molten mixture of soda ash, silica particles and other components into a single mold. They come in various shapes, sizes and colors such as a classic brick rectangular shape or a square shape. Many glass pavers used in flooring are also solid glass.
Glass brick is well suited for use in commercial buildings because of its durability and security. Vistabrick is our high performance line and is weather, graffiti, impact , fire and noise resistant. They are so secure they are even bullet proof.
Glass Brick Used For Commercial Architecture Facades
The facades of commercial buildings need to be secure, which can limit the creative possibilities. Glass brick allows architects to play with the qualities of light transmission and the interplay between inner and outer spaces while still maintaining high security.
The architects that designed the Comedor restaurant in Austin, Texas used glass brick to create an enticing mysterious facade to draw pedestrians into the restaurant. From the street, pedestrians can see vague shapes and glowing colors through the glass brick which piques curiosity. Entering the restaurant is a process of discovery; it leads into an open, sophisticated space, with soaring ceilings and bathed in light. The glass brick used for this project is Vetropieno™ solid glass brick.
Glass Brick Used For Commercial Architecture Flooring
Solid glass brick used for flooring is called glass pavers. Using glass pavers in walkways allows architects to direct natural light to and through these structures, introducing a delicate beauty into what is often a heavy construction. Glass pavers are designed for high traffic; they are durable, strong and slip resistant.
Perhaps the best-known and most exuberant use of glass pavers, as well as glass block, is the Guillemins Railway Station in Liège, Belgium. The entire station design by Santiago Calatrava is made of steel, glass and white concrete. The architect wanted daylight to flow into every part of the structure. This idea even includes the underpasses which are made of glass pavers, flooding normally dark areas with light.
Glass Brick Used For Commercial Architecture Interiors
Because glass brick provides visual and sound privacy while still transmitting light, it is a natural building material to create interesting partitions between spaces. In office buildings, glass brick transforms offices into private spaces that still feel open and integrated into the greater space, encouraging more interaction with co-workers and feelings of inclusion. This has been found to promote productivity and creativity.
Glass brick can also be used to create accent pieces as was done with great effect at the Century Mile Racetrack and Casino in Alberta, Canada. Vetropieno™ glass brick was used to create the centerpiece of the main bar. This freestanding marvel is a testament to the possibilities of glass brick. Colored light bulbs housed within the structure are used to adapt to (or create) different moods in the space, still using light to design a space, but in a more intentional way.
Glass Brick Used For Commercial Architecture Outdoor Spaces
As mentioned before, one of the great qualities of glass brick is its ability to connect different sorts of spaces creating either as a transition from one to the other or an interplay between the two.
The Line Phahonyothin Park Sales Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand exemplifies these concepts, transiting from a busy city space to a clam, relaxing space inside that includes a melding of functional space with gardens. The glass brick filters out the sounds of the city, and cools the interior space. From outside, the facade is continually changing with the light and the shadows of the trees inside. At night, the structure looks like a giant, festive lantern.
The Possibilities For Commercial Architecture Are Endless With Glass Brick
Glass brick adds the components of light, privacy and security to the architect’s palette of design elements to play with. Really, with glass brick you can let your imagination go wild to combine function and sensory aspects of commercial buildings.
If you have an idea and need advice on which glass brick product would best, or any technical specifications, please reach out to our team of experts; we can help you identify which glass product is best for your design, budget and project goals.
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