Glasstec Showcases Architectural Capabilities for Glass

The recent glasstec show, which I attended in Dusseldorf, Germany, is the architectural glass and metal industry’s largest event. It also has actively reached out to architects for a number of years, to educate them on the increasing architectural capabilities of the material.


This year, possibly more than ever before, the event showcased architectural applications which take a giant stride forward in the use of glass as a construction material.


Perhaps the most dramatic was the glass bridge. This was the display of a crystal-clear, bent bridge made of cold-molded glass with a span of 7 meters ( feet). At its broadest point, the bridge measured 2 m and the 1.7 tons of glass could support a 7.2-ton load over its span.


Attendees to the show could actually walk across the bridge, and of course I did. It was made of individual 4 mm-thick bent glass lites, each with total dimensions of only 3.7 cm total lamination. The lites were joined together using a special laminating technology.


Applications of glass as a structural material were present at glasstec as well.


Laminated glass composed of several glass layers, films and resins is making inroads into applications which have been the exclusive domain of steel or concrete. At glasstec, one company was showing glass supports which can be used in roof construction and designed in length up to 12 m.


And that doesn’t even touch on the energy efficient aspects and the solar and photovoltaic applications discussed at glasstec.


Architects never have enough time and the number of trade shows and events keeps increasing, in all fields. So it would be easy for U.S. architects to overlook glasstec. But to see exciting design applications with glass, it was a real education.