The Use of Non-Membrane Structural Glass
This white paper examines the current applications of non-membrane structural glass, that is to say, structural glass elements which serve their main function more as pure structure rather than as a “membrane” or enclosure. These elements include for example: glass fins, beams, and shells.
The discussion is composed of two parts. The first part comprises an overview of what “non-membrane structural glass” actually is and how it differs from “glazing” and other types of “structural glass", as well as the current technology used to implement its application including materials, fabrication methods, and construction techniques. The second part examines the practical applications of non-diaphragm structural glass in the recent and current work of Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), as well as in certain notable examples created by other design firms.
While written from the perspective of an architect and facade specialist, this paper incorporates information and data from glass and structural engineers, other façade consultants, glass fabricators, and façade contractors with the intent of creating an introductory yet informative discourse for architects and designers.