Below are some of the great examples of glass architecture from around the world. Building design and engineering has developed massively over the last 10 years and many creative architects have maximised the use of natural light within their designs.
The Crystal Palace (1851) was one of the first buildings to include vast amounts of glass, but to this day creative architects continue to push the boundaries, designing crystal clear masterpieces. We’ve selected 10 of our favourite glass buildings highlighting these beautiful examples of 21st century architecture.
30 St Mary Axe (London, UK)
The ‘Gherkin’ is one of the most distinctive office towers in London, and it stands at around 600ft. The six beautiful spiralling light wells spread daylight across the 41 floors, while the curved design is achieved by a distinctive diagonal steel structure. 30 St Mary Axe received the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize in 2004, and even though it’s the tenth tallest structure in London, it does appear less bulky than similarly sized rectangular builds.
Basque Health Department Headquarters (Bilbao, Spain)
This truly stunning creation really stands out from the crowd. The Facade is cleverly engineered to produce numerous visual directions, and it was designed to bring staff together in one recognisable, yet mesmerizing place. Looking at the superb structure, you’d expect the building to be home to an art gallery, not the headquarters of Basque Health Department.
The Louvre Pyramid (Paris, France)
This stunning entrance to the iconic Louvre museum was completed in 1989 and over the last decade or so it’s become a landmark of Paris. The modern pyramid design did draw in some criticism when it was opened. Some people felt that the futuristic design was not fitting with the surrounding Louvre Museum architecture, but in our eyes, that combination of old and new is what makes this building so special.
Reichstag Dome (Berlin, Germany)
The current Reichstag Dome delivers fantastic 360 degree views of the surrounding Berlin landscape and it was designed by Norman Foster to symbolise the reunification of Germany. The original dome was destroyed in the famous Reichstag fire, and the new dome delivered the finishing touch to the reconstructed Reichstag building.
The Great Glass House (Carmarthenshire, Wales)
This single span glasshouse is another structure designed by Norman Foster, and it’s positioned on the Welsh landscape like a large droplet of water. To attract maximum sunlight, the dome is tilted by seven degrees on its axis and is orientated to face the south, while 147 computer-controlled vents regulate a fully controllable and natural airflow.
Kanagawa Institute of Technology Workshop (Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)
Okay so this one may not be quite as well known as some of the others in our list, but it’s certainly one of the most transparent. It was designed to allow students to work in optimal lighting conditions, yet the workplace connects people with the outside world as it’s situated beside tree trunks and forest like plants.
The Botanical Garden of Curitiba (Curitiba, Brazil)
This graceful greenhouse is positioned amongst fountains, waterfalls and lakes, and the delicate glass panels with a white intricate structure work to deliver the style of French gardens. It was inspired by the mid-19th century Crystal Palace and it’s located in the heart of Curitiba, making it a major tourist attraction.
The Dancing House (Prague, Czech Republic)
Nicknamed Fred and Ginger, the Dancing House is one of the most famous buildings in Prague and it was completed in 1996. The distinctive design was controversial during the early days because it took on a completely different style to the surrounding gothic buildings; however the dancing shape was rewarded with the Design of the Year Award in 1996 from Time magazine. The glass tower ‘Ginger’ clings to the concrete tower ‘Fred’ and it’s regarded as one of the most interesting buildings in Europe.
W Barcelona Hotel (Barcelona, Spain)
There are many popular tourist destinations in Barcelona, and it is well known for its medieval buildings, however, you’ll find a stunning five star glass hotel in the in the Barceloneta district. This building was designed by Ricardo Bofill and it stands tall at 325 ft, delivering superb large sea views and an unbelievable amount of natural light.
The Shard (London, UK)
Formerly known as London Bridge Tower, the Shard is one of the youngest buildings in our list. It was designed by Renzo Piano and completed in 2012, and it’s the tallest skyscraper in London (ahead of One Canada Square). The sophisticated facades of angled glass reflect sunlight to the sky above, meaning the appearance changes considerably depending on the weather conditions. It’s also worth noting that the view it provides of the capital is unrivalled, whilst it certainly adds sophistication to the skyline of London.
With so many advances in engineering and design we’re confident there will be many more innovative glass buildings to come. Architectural styles are constantly evolving, as too is the technology and building materials used, but in our eyes, clean lines, glass and natural daylight create the winning formula.
Article courtesy of JPG Group