Innovating for the Future

Katy Devlin
June 29, 2015
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION : TRENDS
Students in Stanford University’s Architectural Design Program assemble a chemically strengthened thin glass installation for the campus’ Science and Engineering Quad. Photo by Nick Xu.

Students in Stanford University’s Architectural Design Program assemble a chemically strengthened thin glass installation for the campus’ Science and Engineering Quad. Photo by Nick Xu.

Judges for the 2015 Glass Magazine Awards faced a notable challenge, as they were asked to choose winners from perhaps the most crowded field of innovative glass and glazing project and product nominations that the program has seen. The winning entries are featured here. However, all of the nominees demonstrate that the industry is thriving in a culture of innovation.

“It was a very competitive field of really high quality applicants, and my choices were especially difficult,” says Terry Peterson, Glass Magazine Awards judge and vice president of marketing for Novum Structures. “It is clear that innovation not only continues to exist in the glass industry, but it appears to be accelerating.”

One nominee that clearly represents the expanding possibilities of glass was the thin Transparent Structures Pavilion at Stanford University. The project received numerous mentions from the judges in written comments. “Thin chemically tempered glass will be a key architectural glazing material in the future. It’s nice to see experimentation in its use today,” says Rob Botman, Glass Magazine Awards judge and general manager of Glassopolis.

As part of a design build course called “Transparent Structures” at Stanford University’s Architectural Design Program, students created the innovative decorative glass installation for the campus’ Science and Engineering Quad. The project demonstrates a “hands on experimentation and exploration of the properties of high performance lightweight glass,” says John Stephenson, GMA judge and senior architect, buildings & places, AECOM.

The installation features chemically strengthened glasses, Leoflex and Dragontrail, donated by Asahi Glass Co.

“The innovation of the pavilion is that glass is used structurally, not as an infill panel. The arch is in compression, taking advantage of the compressive strength of this high performance, lightweight glass product,” said Beverly Choe, an architect and the class instructor. “The space is shaped like a barrel vault, which gave us several layers with which to work. We used three different transparencies of glass (applying film) to create a structure which would ‘dissolve’ into nature/the campus.”

Glass may be an ancient material, but the innovation and exploration occurring at individual companies, in new buildings and in architecture programs ensure glass will continue to be a material for the future.

Katy Devlin is editor for Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at kdevlin@glass.org.