Glass Imagined and Realized: Case Studies of the Aesthetic Qualities and Possibilities of Glass in Architectural Design

Architects are increasingly focused on the aesthetic qualities of glass as a cladding material while designing the façades of buildings, and are putting to use its wide range of appearances. At one limit, glass is invisible and immaterial, while at its other extreme it is fully visible and prized for its range of possibilities. Given the complex nature of buildings where performance and aesthetic goals often conflict, navigating the process from imagined concepts to realization requires consistent focus and expertise.

Glass is Transparent: Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall and The Juilliard School – Renovation to replace existing opaque facades with a series of new, transparent glass skins to connect the interior with the surrounding cityscape. Glass is Translucent and Light: Louis Vuitton Manhattan Headquarters – The materialization of the glass surface creates a dynamic public presence both during the day and the night. Glass is Reflective and Colorless: WTC Tower 4 – By pushing the reflective potential to its extreme, a 300m tower can dematerialize.

Glass is Matte and Colorful: Barnard Diana Center – Using combinations of etched surface and colored frits, the contemporary student center blends into its context of traditional masonry buildings.