Glass Facade Advantages for Highrise Buildings

Sep 08, 2020

What is Glass Façade ? Glass wrapping up the building exterior / envelope is called glass façade. Modern building designs and constructions use extensive amount of glass facades. This is mainly due to simplicity of the materials and invention of modern construction methods. Further wide ranges of designs are possible due to availability of various options, products, etc. The design has evolved and became simple for small to large size applications.

Type of glass facades for high rise buildings

According to architectural and functional requirements, glass façade types are as follows .

  • Unitized Curtain Wall-
  • Semi Unitized curtain wall
  • Stick Glazing
  • Frameless system
  • Tension systems
  • Skylight glazing and roofs

Various ways glass facade elevation is designed

Varius ways glass facade elevation designed

Architectural design dictates the building elevation which uses different materials, forms and functional aspects. Design could follow many approaches such as modular, irregular, some patterns, mix of different materials, linear form, etc.

For residential buildings, facades are derived from the internal floor layout basis. Hence in a way, external appearances are controlled by types and functional requirements. Residential types varies from simple to luxury developments, accordingly façades are designed to suit the functional and cost parameters. There are no limitations on designs rather its defined by creativity and budgets for the building facades.

Which is the best glass for the facade of a commercial skyscraper?

best glass for the facade of a commercial skyscraper

High rise buildings being commercial or luxury residential, use high performance glasses to achieve higher level of energy efficiency and better occupant comforts. There are plenty of material options, products are available to choose varying from basic to high performance materials to suit all sorts of budget. Following are major glass types with respective to its performance and applications.

Single Monolighic glass – Used as a basic window glass primarily for visual and natural lightings. This can have clear or various tints to give colour and reflections.

Insulated Glass Units (DGU / IGU) – Two glass panes are joined together with sealed airspace to provide better thermal performances. Glass panels are coated with low emissivity to improve thermal performances.

Laminated glass – Two glass lites are sandwiched with a PVB (Poly vinyl Butrayel) , kind of plastic layer. This becomes non-breakable safety glass, provides better safety against impact and increased structural behaviours and strength.

What kind of advantages have you seen in buildings that have a glass facade?

Glass facades provides numerous advantages such as transparent views, daylights, ease of maintain and cleaning, etc,

Appearance of building is greatly enhanced with various glass materials having different colours/toneswith high performances to achieve energy efficiency and long lasting durability.

Cleaning and maintaining glass facades are much easier and do not require significant or frequent maintenance or replacements. All materials used for facades are of long lasting and durable to withstand extreme weather conditions, this makes glass facades one of simple weather proof building skin yet robust in protection and life cycle.

What are key aspects of glass facade design

Façade Glass designs involves following major aspects

  1. Architectural / visual aspects
  2. Material selections
  3. Engineering designs
  4. Design and detailing
  5. Testing / Verification
  6. Fabrications
  7. Implementation / constructions

Following are some good guidance critical for challenging facades such as high rise building facades

  • Design
    • Robust
    • Well resolved
    • Experienced designers
    • Time tested
    • Engineered
  • Materials
    • Don’t rely on paper documents
    • Do physical checks
    • Review and approve samples
    • Set quality bench marks
  • Material / lab test
    • follow-ups for all tests as per spec completed
    • Witness all critical lab/site tests
  • Fabrications
    • Inspect for tolls and quality
    • Implement factory level checking
    • Set rejection criteria
  • Site works
    • Inspect delivery methods
    • Storage and handling arrangement
    • Protections, during and after install.

Best façade systems for High rise buildings

façade systems for High rise buildings

Unitised Curtain wall systems are the best systems for commercial and tall building facades. This system adopts Factory finished panels, transported to site and erected to building façade with fixings and brackets.

This system uses per-fabrication methods and produces highest level of quality with less work. This systems follows pressure equalisation philosophy which will achieve highest performances and requires less maintenance.  Unitised systems has been widely adopted globally for wide range of buildings covering low, medium and high rise buildings.

Glass facades costs in India

Cost depends upon following key aspects

  • Building location
  • Height / floors
  • Building type
  • Complexity of building
  • Architectural designs
  • Engineering requirements
  • Specification and quality standards

As a thumb rule, Commercial high rise building facade uses high performance materials and systems will cost Approx. INR 15,000 / SqM of facade. This cost is for unitized glazing system for a Grade A spec building. Cost of glass and aluminium framing materials are predominant components of overall cost, other costs include fabrications, site installations and finishes.

Other systems such as Semi unitized or Cassette system and Stick Glazing system will be lower in cost, however performance of these systems are lower than Unitized system.

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