Some of the Most Innovative Uses of Glass in Architecture

National Theatre – Beijing

Glass Building Designs

Glass is one of the most popular materials for combining practicality with a contemporary look, and has given us some stunning and iconic buildings.

When it comes to designing a building that makes the most of the sun’s natural light and warmth, and that also looks modern and striking, glass it the obvious choice. It can provide a 360 degree view, gives the opportunity to minimise spending on artificial light and heating, and has the added benefit of architectural beauty and inspiration.

Little wonder, then, that Solarlux designs are so popular in bringing a slice of those inspirational aesthetics into domestic homes, too. Here we take a look at some of the best examples of glass in architectural design, to see what all the fuss is about.

Botanical Gardens – Curtiba, Brazil

The use of glass in architecture is nothing new, and perhaps one of the most famous examples is the Crystal Palace. Built in 1850 for the Great Exhibition, the building might be long gone, but its name and memory lives on in the London borough that bears its name and, of course, the football team.

It also formed the inspiration for this remarkable piece of architecture in the Brazilian city of Curtiba. This breath-taking building covers an area approaching 500 square metres, and cleverly combines old and new, mixing its use of steel and glass with an art deco design. Combined with the surrounding water features, it is certainly evocative of a bygone, era and is a wonderful tribute to Joseph Paxton’s innovative design from all those years ago.

National Theatre – Beijing, China

If our first example paid tribute to the past, our next could not be more different. Paul Andreu’s “giant egg,” as it is known to the locals, would not look out of place in Doctor Who episode set thousands of years in the future.

Constructed from glass and titanium, the building is surrounded by an artificial lake and is home to a theatre, opera house and concert hall.

The Prada Store – Tokyo, Japan

What do you get when one of the most iconic designers creates a flagship store in one of the most iconic cities? The answer is a glass constructed building that blows the mind.

Its clever use of flat, concave and convex panels of glass set in a diamond structure give the building’s sharp angles a rippling motion. The bubbles of glass also distort the view from inside and out, giving customers and passers by an unforgettable, if sometimes disorienting, experience.

The Louvre – Paris, France

No discussion of glass buildings can be complete without mentioning the most famous of them all, and it is only right that the world’s best known glass construction is part of the world’s best-known art gallery. It attracts as many visitors in its own right as the famous artworks within.

Many people complained that it was unsightly and ruined the appearance of this historic part of Paris when it was unveiled in 1989, while today it is hailed as one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the world. Proof, perhaps, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in the end, isn’t that what art is all about?