Modern architecture is increasingly demanding building shells that visually bring the outside in and vice verse. This in turn means that the importance of glass is growing.
Another advantage of using glass in a building shell are the solar heat gains that can account for a large proportion of a house’s energy usage. With the latest design passive houses, the solar energy input can make a conventional heating system unnecessary, bringing with it huge savings.
On the technical side, extremely high demands are made of the rigidifying effect large glass surfaces have on the building. Conventional structures to date always resulted in elaborate and expensive constructions or in solutions that detracted from the look. In bonded glass facades, the glass assumes no load-bearing function.
The benefits of timber-glass composite units are:
- Heavy loads can be introduced into the sheet of glass
- Buildings can be rigidified with glass
- They offer significant benefits in terms of structure and installation
- They open up new architectural possibilities
The following description is an abbreviated summary by the HFA research project and Vienna University of Technology for the use of wood-glass composite elements.