Chiara Del Core 5 aug 2020 Articles 0 comments

The use of structural glass

Structural glass in construction is used in numerous solutions, typical of the internal and external environments pertaining to the building. If once glass was conceived as a material that characterizes only windows and French windows, today thanks to its properties and the most innovative processes, it is used for the creation of elements with different functions. Structural glass, thanks to its load-bearing capacity, does not require framing and can cover entire transparent facades or be used for the construction of mezzanines, ramps and bridges. In addition, it often also becomes a characterizing element in the architecture or interior spaces of the house. An example of this are the parapets of private staircases inside residences and condominiums, but also those that characterize public staircases that can be found in shopping centers and buildings for services.

Example of a glass parapet inside a shopping center and in one airport

The structural glass parapets characterize balconies and terraces and thanks to their minimal elegance and the absence of interruption elements, they favor the entry of a lot of light into the rooms and guarantee users a view of the surrounding landscape. In the latter case, the glazed solution becomes a transition element and continuity between inside and outside. These solutions are in fact composed of fully glazed panels, anchored to the side of the slab or to the extrados. Before choosing the type of panels, it is necessary to analyze the technical specifications and make sure that the minimum height of the parapet is equal to 1m from the walking surface. The distance between the glass plates must be minimal, so as to obstruct the passage of even small objects. From the point of view of safety, the glass that make up the parapet panels must be sufficiently resistant. Specifically, depending on the intended use of the buildings and the consequent load they will have to bear, a calculation of the minimum resistance that the parapet must comply with will be carried out.

The advantages of "all glass" parapets they are many, ranging from modern and minimal aesthetics to visual functionality, up to ease of maintenance and cleaning. In fact, if the cost of a glass parapet initially turns out to be higher than a classic metal railing, over the years it will not require renovation and consequently will allow good economic savings. Thanks to the absence of spacer and structural elements, this solution will allow a good return also from the point of view of psycho-physical well-being, in fact, the entry of light and heat will ensure thermal and visual comfort. Last but not least, the parapets in structural glass are able to respond to the most diverse aesthetic needs, thanks to the availability on the market of innovative processes and finishes that can be customized. Depending on the environment, it will be appropriate to choose the glass in the most suitable color and processing. In fact, if the sandblasting will make the crystal opaque, the printing will allow you to reproduce graphic effects and designs and again, the glass for LEDs will restore the desired atmosphere to the environment. If accessory elements are provided, such as a balustrade on the top or side of the parapet, they must be chosen in accordance with the architectural style and interior design. For example, in a modern residence a metal handrail will be perfect for a result in perfect high-tech style, while a lacquered wood profile will be indicated to give a touch of contrast.

Example of a staircase with wooden steps and glass parapet - residential area

Sometimes the parapets in glass are part of famous architectural artifacts, an example is the Bridge of the Constitution by Calatrava in Venice. To view it click here

Types of structural glass and parapet

The parapets affecting terraces, balconies, stairs and other components of a building can be distinguished by physical and performance characteristics. For example, depending on the intended use of the property, the parapets must satisfy diversified needs from a structural and aesthetic point of view. In fact, residential buildings will accommodate fewer people than structures open to the public.
In any case, safety for users will be guaranteed everywhere. The parapet can be of different types: constrained only on one side or on both, with or without handrail, with or without subdivision of the loads on adjacent panels. Furthermore, these components can be divided into two macro categories: self-supporting or fixed on the sides; the former are divided into simple ones, when there is no supporting structure in their own right and integral, when the panels are connected by a handrail. The fixed glass parapets, on the other hand, are connected to each other and to the structure of the building through channels or special brackets. The choice between different solutions must always be linked to the need for safety, stability and shape.

As for the choice of material, it is always good to make sure that the glass is certified and complies with current legislation in terms of safety and quality. The main types of glass used in construction for the construction of parapets are:
  • Monolithic tempered glass
  • Laminated glass with non-tempered sheets
  • Laminated glass with tempered plates
  • Laminated glass with tempered plates and greater thickness

The first type of glass, despite being subjected to specific treatment to make the material more resistant, is not recommended in such solutions as it is not able to guarantee a sufficient level of safety for users. Laminated glass, on the other hand, ensures greater strength and can consist of non-tempered sheets or the mixture of a tempered and a hardened sheet. The thickness of each individual slab varies from 8 to 12 mm and the choice depends on the intended use of the building in which the parapet is inserted. The two glass panels are made to adhere through a thin sheet of plastic material which increases their safety in case of breakage. Depending on the need and function of the parapet, the laminated glass can provide for the unification of modules of two, three or four sheets. Usually two slabs are used and systems of greater thickness are provided only in specific cases such as stadiums or places that require a high flow of users.

© riproduzione riservata - E' possibile condividere con un link alla pagina
related pages
Recommended CAD blocks

Structural glass parapet 01


Structural glass parapet 02


Structural glass parapet 04


Structural glass parapet 06

Archweb related