A glass facade is a building’s glass exterior wall without any dead load weight imposed on it. Many modern buildings use glass facades to counter environmental factors (strong winds, seismic forces) while improving light flow, sound, and heat insulation.
Glass facades come in many types, broadly categorized as curtain or storefront walls with different framing systems (stick, unitized and non-unitized).
Benefits of Glass Facades
Facade glass has numerous benefits to buildings and their owners explaining its rapidly growing popularity in the construction industry.
Here are some of the top benefits of using a modern glass facade.
The creative nature of a glass facade design improves the aesthetic appeal of living spaces, giving buildings a polished, modern, and sophisticated look.
Since smart glass for building facades can be easily customized, they give buildings a personal and unique touch that goes a long way in improving their aesthetic appeal.
Popular methods of improving the glass facade’s aesthetic appeal are using edged, patterned, fritted, or colored glass as the glass facade material of choice.
Glass facade materials, especially those incorporating smart glass technology, are excellent for controlling the flow of natural light in or out of a building.
The ability of glass facades to control light flow is essential for daylighting architecture that seeks to create naturally lit spaces that improve the comfort and productivity of a building’s occupants.
High Visual Light Transmittance (VLT) materials in a glass facade building effectively control light flow in and out of a building leading to reduced lighting costs, improved productivity, and comfort.
Glass facades are increasingly used in high-performance building due to their high energy efficiency and sustainability levels.
Apart from being excellent conductors of heat and light energy, glass facades are built with robust materials and advanced building technology, making them incredibly durable compared to other building facade materials.
Thermal comfort refers to the ability of glass facade materials to regulate the amount of heat getting in or out of a building.
Using different solar control methods like double glazing, smart glass facades built with smart glass technology act as a thermal barrier.
Glass facades are cheap to maintain, requiring no significant operational and repair costs owing to the innovative designs and high-quality materials used to manufacture these glass fixtures.
Additionally, smart glass facades, especially those that use energy-saving smart glass, help reduce heating and cooling costs that reduce the initial setup costs a homeowner incurs when setting up these systems.
Types of Glass Facades in Modern Architecture
There are many different types of glass facades, including the following:
Curtain Wall Facade
Curtain wall facades refer to a non-load-bearing wall enclosing a building, usually attached to a building’s floor slab via connectors and covered with spandrel glass cladding material.
These highly aesthetic and functional structures provide rain and water protection, enhanced thermal insulation, and transfer wind and seismic loads from the curtain walls to the buildings.
Storefront Wall Facade
As the name suggests. Storefront wall facades are non-load-bearing glazed windows usually located on the ground floors of buildings, spanning the distance between the ground floor slab to the roof of the structure above.
Storefront walls are low-cost and effective, usually constructed of high-quality double glazed tempered glass that provides optimal thermal and sound insulation.
Double Skin Facade
Double skin facades refer to an exterior walling system consisting of two glass layers with an intermediate air gap.
The glass fixtures in a double-skin facade bear no weight except their own. They primarily mitigate adverse weather conditions, including thermal and sound insulation.
Frameless Skin Facade
Frameless glazing systems are constructed with large glass panes, usually 10-12mm thick, without the visible use of frames or support structures.
Due to their construction technology, frameless skin facades impart a clean, minimalistic look to a structure that maximizes the flow of natural light.
Stick Glazing Facade
Stick systems facades usually made on site consist of vertical support mullions or extrusions that are attached to the structure of a building paired with horizontal frames that lock the glass from all sides.
The aluminum, wooden, steel, or concrete mullions used in stick-glazed glass structures impart the strength necessary for these structures to withstand wind, rain, and seismic forces.
Tension System Facade
Tension system facades are revolutionary and cost-effective architectural facade fixtures that consist of flexible membranes or tensioned fabrics used in place of metal mesh facade screens.
The tension system facades use high-tension stainless steel rods or high-tensile cables to impose the weight of the facade on the building.
Unitized Glass Facades
Unitized glass facades, usually entirely made in factories, consist of long, continuous glass panes attached to frames with high-quality air and moisture-prevention properties.
The unitized glass facades, usually with windows and vents for adequate airflow, often span multiple floors, especially on tall buildings or long horizontal structures, and are installed using mobile street cranes or tower cranes.
A semi-unitized glass facade system is a stick and unitized design hybrid, leveraging the strengths of each glass walling system to create a more effective product.
Semi-unitized systems consist of small metal cassettes in-filled with pre-bonded glass structures that are eventually joined together to create larger glass structures at the building site.
Fritted Glass Facade
Fritted glass facades contain inks infused with ultra-small glass particles called “Fritts” in the inside layer of the glass that improves aesthetics and UV protection while reducing solar heat gain.
Constructing fritted glass facades involves laying out silk-screened ceramic components and annealing them into glass using frit paint.
Patterned Glass Facade
Patterned glass facades contain glass panes engraved on both sides with decorative designs or textures that impart a degree of obscurity while still allowing light to flow through the glass fixture.
The construction of patterned glass facades takes many different construction techniques, with the main distinguishing feature being decorative glass.
Smart Glass Facade – Revolutionary Facade for Commercial Buildings
Switchable smart glass facades that use switchable glass technology are the latest trend in the glass facade industry, offering numerous benefits to users, especially in office exterior design.
Among the numerous benefits that smart glass facades offer users include the following;
- Improved daylighting.
- Improved wind and thermal insulation.
- Satisfying Sound Transmission Class (STC) and Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC) regulations.
- Improved privacy and security by controlling visibility in the smart glass window, door, or wall.
- Reduced energy costs (heating and cooling costs).
- Improved brand awareness and aesthetic appeal.
Chiefway: The Best Smart Glass Provider
Smart glass facades are a buzzword in the construction sector due to their excellent benefits to users and the environment.
Chiefway is the top smart glass Malaysia producer of high-quality, expertly fashioned glass facade products and fixtures.
Contact Chiefway today for professional help with your next smart glass facade project.