Ever since it was first made by humans many centuries ago, glass has always been one of the most used materials. Glass has several properties that make it suitable for use in a wide array of applications, from a simple task to the most disparate of uses. Perhaps the most important property is the fact that glass is transparent, allowing light to pass through it quite freely compared to other materials. It can also be used to refract light at appropriate angles. Glass is relatively easy to produce in a variety of colours, it can be modelled into different shapes and is quite resistant to chemical reactions, although being quite brittle.
Among other fields, glass has found a lot of uses in the field of building construction. In modern buildings, we can find glass to be used in both outside and interior structures, either as structural components of the building or just added to it as an extra. The most common use is definitely for making windows. Since glass allows light to pass through it, we can easily keep our rooms and interior illuminated during the daytime even though window glass panels themselves can act as a shield, blocking anything (except light of course!) from entering the interior of our homes. Ease of cleaning and even replacement is the reason why there is still no better substitute for window glass panels at a similar price.
Other than in simple glass windows, glass can be used to form much more complex structures. One example of this is its use in the construction of building facades in the form of a unitised curtain wall. You can often witness the use of curtain walling in most urban high-rise buildings, although a few low-rise buildings have curtain walls installed on them as well. The reason for choosing them as façade material is simple: they provide quite an attractive outlook to the building, while also facilitating the penetration of a sufficient amount sunlight, just enough to keep the interior lighting at an optimum level. All of this though comes with the same amount of protection provided by a conventional façade.
When it comes to a curtain walling system, newer methods of manufacturing have enabled us to produce reflective glass panels, which can reflect harmful UV radiation to provide further protection. This process, called glazing, has helped glass panels to stay in the market and keep a competitive edge over other façade solutions.
We also cannot talk about glass without at least mentioning its ease of customization. Glass panels are easy to work with, and can be coloured according to one’s wishes. Application of patterns and designs is also possible, as seen in many old buildings such as churches. Pairing up glass panels and lighting systems is yet another way to create appealing architectural works of art, as can be seen in many major cities worldwide.