The consequences of panelisation on visual inconsistency of curved glazed facades

Increasingly designers produce inspirational building images with seamless curved façades. The challenge is providing a visually consistent glazed façade allowing views out and light in with minimal distortion and interference.

This study aimed to identify factors influencing panelisation of curved glazed façades, the subsequent impact on visual consistency and finally how quality may be improved. It illustrated that architectural division/panelisation for a curved façade can be achieved in different ways: triangulating flat elements; cold bending by forced or laminated methods or hot bending by radial or slump formed processes.

The study appraised current specification methods and processes for production of flat and bent glass. This highlighted omissions and inconsistencies in standards/guidelines and inadequate visual assessment criteria. Defects/attributes for different glass and bending types vary and this can lead to visual inconsistency if different types are used simultaneously. Case studies illustrate the challenges. A pilot survey to industry and designers was used to reaffirm the issues. A preliminary design roadmap was subsequently devised for informing design decisions.

Finally, outline proposals for future investigations and studies to improve the overall specification, production and visual assessment of bent glass and curved glass buildings are identified.