Most iconic buildings have one thing in common. Glass and lots of it. Frameless glass has been the mainstay of industrial architecture for many years and industry experts at NFK Glazing & Industrial Supplies assure us that the trend is big on the home front too. Glass features everywhere on a major scale – exterior facades, doors, balconies, pools and even interior walls. So if you’re thinking of building or renovating, here are five fresh reasons to consider frameless glass in your design.
1. Glass is a modern design classic
Inside most modern buildings, you’ll find yourself surrounded by walls of glass. But this wasn’t always the case. While glass has been around for thousands of years, it only evolved as a construction material after decades of innovation in building and manufacturing techniques. Glass started appearing in experimental ways in exhibition halls, railway stations and other public buildings in the mid 1800s. However, curtain wall glazing as we know it is a relatively recent addition to our city skylines. Thankfully, by the mid 1900s building designers were obsessed with creating transparent, all-glass structures to maximise light and minimise solid wall construction. Ideas have filtered through to change the way we build everything – from homes to public buildings – over the years.
2. Glass is a safe and reliable building material
A common misconception is that glass is fragile – if you drop a drinking glass, it will break – but glass used in building design is a different material altogether. Before large-span windows and glass sliding doors became common in domestic architecture, commercial and industrial designers led the way in developing glass technology that would hold its shape if broken. Laminated, tempered and chemically strengthened glass continue to evolve to push the boundaries of architectural possibility in glass design.
3. Glass is a green option
Glass panels and windows that can help you save on energy costs and power your building? Yes, please! Some of the latest technology in glass design and manufacturing include integrated photovoltaic transparent solar glass that can be applied as a coating to generate 50 times more power than conventional solar panels. Dynamic smart glass is another innovation that can instantly change its light control and appearance – switching from light to dark, clear to private – to keep you comfortable while saving money on lighting, heating and cooling.
4. Glass hardware makes for cool accessories
Wherever you find glass, you’ll find architectural hardware. When chosen correctly, you may hardly notice they’re there. But these important devices include all the brackets, hinges, handles, fixings and fasteners that allow us to incorporate glass seamlessly and safely. Frameless glass, in particular, has architectural hardware to thank for its ability to transform homes and commercial spaces – with clever devices working almost behind the scenes to allow glass facades, walls and balustrades to seemingly float in space. Leading industry players, including NFK Glazing & Industrial Supplies, firmly believe that choosing the right architectural hardware is the key to glass’s success. Less is more is an enduring trend.
5. Glass design continues to push boundaries
Just like London’s Crystal Palace in the 1850s, amazing new glass structures continue to push architectural boundaries. In northern France, the gravity-defying glass shell of Strasbourg Railway Station curves around the historic building like a giant cocoon. Meanwhile, global brands like Apple have made structural glass their signature style – with light-filled experiences greeting visitors to their sprawling $5 billion Apple Park headquarters and retail stores worldwide.
Modern glass applications are not only beautiful, they are incredibly safe and practical too. Giant spans, curved panes, anything is possible with the latest innovative technologies and intricate designs. So next time you scroll past a stunning glass infinity pool or glass facade while searching for your latest dream home inspiration, give thought to the architectural hardware that makes it all possible. Architectural hardware remains the unsung hero of modern glass design – and means the popularity of frameless glass will never wane.