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Façade of glass bricks

Interior walls made of glass bricks are increasingly common. Yet it is quite a feat to create a bearing façade made of glass bricks. After extensive research by Delft University of Technology and ABT, the design concept by MVRDV has actually been made possible. The first building to use it was the Chanel shop in the P.C. Hooftstraat, in Amsterdam.

MVRDV came up with a glass structure that resembles the original late nineteenth century façade. Thanks to the application of a glass façade, the building has been given its stylish, transparent look. ABT was involved to help realise this unique product from a technological point of view. From the executive research up to and including its engineering. The clear, transparent bricks have been produced by the Italian manufacturing firm Poesia.

Technological research
A glass façade has to be beautiful and unique. And - more importantly - it has to be strong and safe. Supervised by professor Rob Nijsse, an extensive research study and various tests were carried out in the Stevin Laboratory of Delft University of Technology. The aspects of the façade concerning building physics and structure were tested in a number of ways, including the trial & error method. Other aspects that were studied during this research included the dimensional stability in relation to the glueing together of the glass bricks. Based on the results of these tests, ABT subsequently took care of the engineering.

Afbeelding: Glazen bakstenen_testen TU Delft_professor Rob Nijsse
Rob Nijsse in Stevin Laboratory TU Delft

Collaboration with Delft University of Technology
ABT believes in the importance of sharing its knowledge with students. The research project is therefore promoted among students of universities of technology. Early 2015, in collaboration with U-Dispuut, ABT organised a visit to the project for students. Rob Nijsse, also professor at Delft University of Technology, gave a lecture in the Stevin Laboratory on the research project. Subsequently, he showed the students the end result in the P.C. Hooftstraat in Amsterdam. 

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