Cambridge 7th to 9th September
article posted 10 Mar 2015
Bristogianni Telesilla is a PhD researcher in Civil Engineering at the Glass and
Transparency Lab of TU Delft since 2014, focusing on structural cast-glass elements.
She has a background in architecture and building technology, with a specialization in
performance driven design and the development of novel building components with
the aid of parametric models and digital simulations, and supported by material
research and the production of physical prototypes.
Maximizing the Transparency of a Structural Glass Masonry Wall
Faidra Oikonomopoulou1, Telesilla Bristogianni2*,
Fred A. Veer3, Rob Nijsse4
An adhesively bonded glass masonry system has been developed at the TU Delft
Glass and Transparency Lab for the Crystal House fašade, a completely transparent
reproduction of the previous, 19th century elevation in the historic centre of
Amsterdam, envisioned by MVRDV. In this paper, the steps followed towards the
materialization of the design and the maximizing of the transparency level of both
cast glass blocks and adhesive layer will be presented.
Regarding the glass blocks, the
optimization of the material's composition and production technique, as well as the
choice of texture and geometry played a key role in the visual result. The absence of
any metal substructure notably increased the overall transparency of the fašade.
However, it called for a transparent adhesive that could lead to a self-supportive wall
meeting the given structural requirements; at the same time it should result into
minimum visual distortion.
The family of Delo Photobond adhesives was chosen as it
fulfilled all the prerequisites. In particular, the type applied for the bonding of the
blocks is a clear adhesive with similar index of refraction to the glass used. The
ageing of the adhesive under sun exposure was also considered, to avoid eventual
Moreover, the specific adhesive ensured the monolithical
behaviour of the bonded masonry with satisfactory flexural strength values. This
adhesive obtains its maximum strength when applied in a layer of 0.3 mm, thus very
strict tolerances in the brick sizes were necessary.
The application of the adhesive
with special moulds and in relation to the acquired minimum tolerances of the glass
blocks, led to the homogeneous distribution of the adhesive and the elimination of
visible air gaps. Taking all the above measures into account, one can see through the
structural 210 mm thick glass wall with minimum visual distortions.
TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architectural Engineering +
TU Delft, Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Structural Engineering Department