Architectural Glass Case Studies
Chicago, IL, USA
Columbia College Chicago
The historic building at 600 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago has undergone significant urban renewal and restoration in the past century. In 2006, Columbia College purchased the building and did extensive renovations to the interior. Then, in 2010, the exterior façade needed to be redone, primarily for safety reasons. Columbia saw this as an opportunity to replace the façade with contemporary energy efficient glass consistent with the College’s commitment to environmental sustainability. This was done using ceramic digital glass printing, with ceramic frit covering almost 46% of the building’s glazed area. As a result solar gain was significantly reduced, as was bird collision. For a nice aesthetic twist, ghost-like images of the building’s original façade were integrated, giving a nod to the building’s extensive history.
Schijndel, the Netherlands
The Glass Farm, located in the market square of the Dutch town Schijndel, is a modern project inspired by old local farms. To construct this unique building all the remaining historical farms in the area were photographed, measured, and analyzed. From the images and data collected, the architects of MVRDV began to piece together the project’s image and shape. The results were then printed on different size panels, using digital ceramic glass printing technology, culminating in an 1,800 sqm glass façade. A particularly intricate endeavor, the photorealism, scaling, solar control, shading, transparency, material imitation, cultural identity, and context were all carefully considered. The designers played with the levels of translucency according to the need for light and views throughout the structure, customizing the panels for each section. The completed Glass Farm stands at 14 meters (46 feet) high and is 1.6 times larger than a real farm, symbolizing the original village’s growth into a town.
Kuopio University Hospital
The digital ceramic colors and the artwork printed onto the glass looks different at different times of day, weather, and seasons. Every window offers a unique view and artwork to look at which gives a personal touch for every room. The functional benefits are also notable in this project. The glass is a great material even here in Finland were there can be less than -30 degrees in wintertime. The printed glass facade serves as a sun visor generating energy savings, it serves as a raincoat and is suitable in an environment where the tempurature can drop to -30 Celcius.
Chicago, Illinois, USA
O’Hare International Airport
Digital ceramic glass printing was used to create functional and uniquely designed elements for the renovation of Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5, with each detail serving a distinct purpose. The two-story interior curtain wall serves as a barrier to private areas, and directs foot traffic to the security checkpoint. The color bands and geometric shapes embedded in the printed glass ensure the flow of natural light without diminishing its privacy function. For a continued narrative, the design seamlessly connects the curtain wall to the printed glass wall cladding, which creates an aesthetic walkway for passersby. The wall also doubles as a backing to the retail shops and demarcates the restrooms. Lastly, the digital ceramic printed glass guard rail on the upper level, which is seen by both arriving and departing passengers, separates the two groups while creating a shared experience, as both can see the embedded images of flight patterns spanning the globe, at different stages of their journey.
The digital ceramic printed glass façade that envelopes the Ryerson University Student Learning Center creates a unique visual impact. The glass curtain wall is both attractive and practical, with the combination of the graphic design and the functionality of the glass creating varying light qualities within the interior space.
Ryerson was an ideal starting project because it was complex and large, which accelerated the learning curve. The project was required to meet LEED standards and come in under a set budget, while maintaining the integrity of the design. Digital ceramic glass printing was the key enabler to meeting all of those traditionally conflicting requirements.
Aiming to make a bold visual statement with the façade of their new mall, the developers of Zhongyu Plaza knew from the start that they had to look beyond traditional screen-printing. After a short selection process, they decided that digital ceramic printing technology was the way to go. As proposed by China Jianghe Curtain Wall Company, the solution supported their vision for a spectacular curtain wall integrating elements of local geography and culture. Importantly, it also met the energy saving functional requirements.
The stunning visual installation that comprises the shopping mall’s outer surface was printed in 14 weeks, and opened to the public in time for the Chinese Spring Festival, in February 2015. At night, a dynamic LED show plays on the Zhongyu Plaza walls, mesmerizing passersby with its display of two flowing rivers (symbolizing the rivers that flow into the Chongqing province), and the changing of four seasons.