- On September 8, 2020
What is Glass Façade ? Glass wrapping up the building exterior / envelope is called glass façade. Modern building designs and constructions use extensive amount of glass facades. This is mainly due to simplicity of the materials and invention of modern construction methods. Further wide range of designs are possible due to availability of various options, products, etc. The design has evolved and became simple for small to large size applications.
Type of glass facades for high rise buildings
According to architectural and functional requirements, glass façade types are as follows .
- Unitized Curtain Wall-
- Semi Unitized
- Stick Glazing
- Frameless system
- Tension systems
- Skylight glazing and roofs
Various ways glass facade elevation designed
Architectural design dictates the building elevation which uses different materials, forms and functional aspects. Design could follow many approaches such as modular, irregular, some patterns, mix of different materials, linear form, etc.
For residential buildings, facades are derived from the internal floor layout basis. Hence in a way, external apperances are controlled by types and functional requirments. Residential types various from simple to luxury developments, accordingly façades are designed to suit the functional and cost parameters. There are no limitations on designs rather its definend by creativity and budgets for the buiding facades.
Which is the best glass for the facade of a commercial skyscraper?
High rise buildings being commercial or luxury residential, use high performance glasses to achieve higher level of energy efficiency and achieve better occupant comforts. There are plenty of material options, products are available to choose vary from basic to high performance materials to suit all sorts of budgets. Following are major glass types which respective to its performance and applications.
Single Monolighic glass – Used as a basic window glass primarily for visual and natural lightings. This can have clear or various tints to give colour and reflections
Insulated Glass Units (DGU / IGU) – Two glass panes are joined together with sealed airspace to provide better thermal performannces. Glass panels are coated with low emissivity to improve thermal performances.
Laminated glass – Two glass lites are sandwiched with a PVB (Poly vinyl Butrayel) , kind of plastic layer. This becomes non-breakable safety glass provide better safety against impact and increased structural behaviours and strength.
What kind of advantages have you seen in buildings that have a glass facade?
Glass facades provides numerous advantages such as transparent views, daylights, ease of maintain and cleaning, etc,
Appearance of buildings greatly enhanced with various glass materials having different colours / tones with high performances to achieve energy efficiency and long lasting durability.
Cleaning and maintain glass facades are much easier and do not require significant or frequent maintenance or replacements. All materials used for facades are of long lasting and durable to withstand extreme weather conditions, this makes glass facades one of simple weather proof building skin yet robust in protection and life cycle.
What are key aspects of glass facade design
façade Glass designs involves following major aspects
- Architectural / visual
- Material selections
- Engineering designs
- Design and detailing
- Testing / Verification
- Implementation / constructions
Following some good guidance critical for challenging facades such as high rise building facades
- Well resolved
- Experienced designers
- Time tested
- Don’t rely on paper docs
- Do physical checks
- review and approve samples
- set quality bench marks
- Material / lab test
- follow-ups for all tests as per spec completed
- Witness all critical lab/site tests
- Inspect for tolls and quality
- Implement factory level checking
- Set rejection criteria
- Site works
- Inspect delivery methods
- Storage and handling arrangement
- Protections, during and after install.
Best façade systems for High rise buildings
Unitised Curtain wall systems are the best systems for commmmercial and tall building facades. This systems adopts Factory finished panels, transported to site and erected to building façade with fixings and brackets.
This system uses per-fabrication methods and produces highest level of quality with less works. This has follows pressure equilisation philosophy which will achieve highest performances and requires less maintenance. Unitised systems has been widely adopted globally for wide range of buildings covering low, medium and high rise buildings.
Glass facades costs in India
Cost depends upon following key aspects
- Building location
- Height / floors
- Building type
- Complexity of building
- Architectural designs
- Engineering requirements
- Specification and quality standards
As a thumb rule, Commercial high rise building facades, uses high performance materiasl and systems will cost Approx. INR 15,000 / SqM of facades. This cost is for unitised glazing system for a Grade A spec buildings. Cost of glass and Aluminum framing materials are predominant components of overall cost, other costs includes fabrications, site installations and finishes.
Other systems such as Semi unitised or Cassette system and Stick Glazing system will be lower cost, however performance of these systems are lower than Unitised system.