Challenges in the construction of the Crystal Houses Façade

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop, seminar, course or other meeting


Designed by MVRDV architectural office, the Crystal Houses façade is a transparent reproduction of the previous 19th century masonry elevation, entirely made of adhesively bonded solid glass bricks. Even the window and door frames are reinterpreted by elaborated massive cast glass components. To obtain pure transparency, the resulting 10 by 12 meters glass masonry wall should be self-supporting. To achieve the desired structural performance of the wall a colourless UV-curing adhesive of high stiffness is selected which reaches its optimum bond strength when applied in 0.3mm thick layer. The virtually zero thickness of the adhesive and the desire of untainted transparency induced various engineering challenges, from the adhesive’s homogeneous application and the dimensional accuracy of the bricks to the allowable tolerances in the entire façade. Such challenges called for novel solutions, which include the manufacturing of glass elements of extreme dimensional precision, the development of methods for the accurate measuring and systematic levelling of the façade and the development of customized bonding techniques to attain purely transparent and flawless connections.
Period11 Oct 2016
Event titleGlass architecture and glass engineering expo conference
Event typeConference
LocationWarsaw, PolandShow on map