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Glass is the most widely used building facade material. No other material matches its optical clarity, durability, economy, and ability to control light and heat transfer. Despite these attractive properties, the inherent brittleness and potentially dangerous fracture characteristics of glass will continue to challenge cladding designers and building owners. Since glass makes up such a substantial portion of contemporary building facades, the economic consequences of poor glass performance are significant.
This paper presents a brief review of glass in facade architecture, its strengths and weaknesses, and in situ condition assessment techniques. Issues addressed in this paper include glass surface assessment, evaluating glass breakage characteristics, and insulating glass unit durability and performance.
annealed, fully tempered, heat-strengthened, laminated, hermetic seal, interlayer, etch, GASP
President, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Waltham, MA