Since the Egyptians first used it to make beads over 4500 years ago, glass has invoked fascination among humans. Among the first to recognize the usefulness of glass as a building material were the Romans, who built their most important structures with cast glass windows. Luxury villas in Pompeii and Herculaneum also began to use glass panes for building purposes around the year 500 BC as its versatility became more evident.
Considering the modern use of glass as a sophisticated structural component of buildings, its evolution in architecture is striking. Glass has transformed from being a luxury item to becoming one of the most frequently used building materials in the world. Architects now use glass to build everything from windows to roofs to floors. One of the key attractions of glass when designing buildings is how it allows a lot more light to enter a structure.
Glass now plays a key role in many aspects of contemporary architecture, and a range of security glass solutions give added durability and strength to a visually impressive building material. The extra strength of security glass is important in widening the applications of glass use in modern design. But choosing the right kind of security glass for a given building is vital. The following guide helps architects identify a suitable type of security glass for their specific building projects.
Ballistic glass is a special type of glass that protects a building and its occupants against bullets fired during armed attacks. Ballistic glass looks like normal glass but it’s composed of several layers that help to absorb the energy of the bullet. The energy of the bullet distributes throughout the ballistic glass, which helps to contain the projectile inside the panel and prevent damage to property and/or injury to people. Ballistic glass has several uses in modern building design, in places such as:
- Prisons or other security units
- Police and military installations
- International embassies
- Private residences
- Financial institutions
Fire Resistant Glass
Fire rated glass is specially tempered to withstand extreme heat. The design of fire resistant glass halts the spread of flames and smoke throughout a building, giving emergency response units more time to contain the blaze and the building’s occupants an improved chance of escaping fires. When architects identify a need for enhanced protection against fires, suppliers can combine fire resistant glass into double- and triple-glazed units. Modern building regulations often call for fire rated glass on overhead glazing, making this type of glass essential when incorporating walk-on glass floors into a building’s design.
Blast Resistant Glass
High-energy explosions are often destructive not only because of the initial blast, but due to the flying debris and glass that strikes people and objects at high speed. Blast resistant glass absorbs the shock of an initial explosion and doesn’t violently break away from the frame causing havoc in the vicinity. Blast resistant glass is a potentially life-saving addition to structures such as:
- Military and government buildings
- Rail stations and airports vulnerable to terrorism
- Oil and gas testing facilities
- Chemical and nuclear plants
Anti-attack glass protects buildings that face the threat of theft or intrusion without needing protection against bullets. The glass is composed of bonded sheets of glass and polycarbonates layered into a durable design that can withstand attacks by heavy items, including sledgehammers and bricks. The anti-theft glass doesn’t compromise on visibility and it protects valuable inventory. The architectural applications of anti-attack glass include:
- Retail outlets
- Mental health institutions
- Galleries and museums
- Detention centres
Architectural Glass – Load Bearing
Architectural glass has a dual use in modern hotels, shopping malls, and other structures as a decorative design element and an important protective barrier. The design of architectural glass is such that it continues to function even if the load bearing pane fails. Large construction projects use architectural glass to partition space and secure floor levels. Architectural barriers were formerly composed of single sheets of toughened glass, but modern architectural design calls for toughened multi-ply laminates to meet increasing safety needs.
A range of excellent security glass products exist that architects can incorporate into different building projects, depending on their needs. For further queries on using security glass in buildings, you can visit the Diamond Glass website for in-depth information on the various types of security glass which are available for Architects.