Bonded Glass Frames

Construction Principle

The entrance foyer to Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford, Eng­land, was one of the first structures to be built almost entirely of glass [11]. The structure, which was completed in 1994, served as a prototype for numerous subsequent all-glass designs, including the form of construction discussed in this article. The glass pavilion is supported by glass frames with glued corners. The statements of users and designers confirm the suitability of the structural solution chosen. So far, after 15 years in use, no negative changes to the adhesive joints have become evident in this glued glass structure [12]. Another all-glass structure, a conservatory in Leiden in the Netherlands, which was obviously inspired by the entrance foyer in Kingswinford, is also in good condi­tion [13].

Usually, each glued glass frame consists of three – or four-ply laminated safety glass elements, depending on the required factor of safety against failure. The corner detail is similar to the mortise and tenon joint used in carpentry; at the corners the outer plies of the posts overlap the inner plies of the beams to form what woodworkers might call a “corner bridle joint" (Fig. 1). The overlap­ping plies of glass are glued together with a transparent adhesive over their full area. The width of the gap for the adhesive is dictated by the thickness of the polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayer.

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