A Crude History of Glass: Then and Now

A Crude History of Glass: Then and Now

This narrative holds no city as its home. It addresses the modern glass movement. The desire to coat entire facades in transparent material.

The story of glass through architecture can crudely be said as such... The Seagram building was the first building of its size to have a full facade of glass. The engineering looked inward, freeing the facade to window space. This glass put in place, was later deemed unfit in terms of the environment. The low reflective qualities allow for massive heat gain and in return massive AC pumpage.

This environmental concern spawned a new idea in glass. Brown glass. You've seen these horrendous buildings throughout cities around the world. The heavy filter placed on the pristine glazing was not only ugly, it also blocked too much light. Not only were they disagreeable on the outside... they created disturbing environments inside.

So now, we see mirrored glass. I happen to adore mirrored glass. I don't even care what the building looks like if it's facade is coated in the highly reflective glazing. In urban environments, this material is particularly beneficial. New York City is the densest place in the United States. These buildings below create a world beyond themselves. They become canvases in which the city you have your back to is painted upon.

Instead of a wall the buildings themselves create a window back into the city.

Urbanity through the Eyes of a Plebeian

Urbanity through the Eyes of a Plebeian

Sheep Meadow

Sheep Meadow