A Transparent Future
High transparency will remain a common theme in architecture, with the progressive integration of glass and structure, and the continued development of glass and glass processing, making the realization of high transparency both easier and cheaper. Performance enhancements of energy performance as a barrier to high transparency, and provide higher strength products capable of replacing more metallic structural components.
However, high transparency is obviously not appropriate or desirable in many applications, at least not full time transparency, and here lies perhaps the most exciting opportunity; variable transmission facades capable of selective and varying transmittance, from highly transparent to opaque, in response to any number of internal or external conditions or direct occupant input. Time, temperature, and light level in any combination are few of the parameters by which a dynamic façade will be programmed to provide improved energy performance and comfort.
Building facades of the future will be dynamic skins integrated not only with the supporting structure, but with all building systems, thus playing a roll in everything from energy production and conservation, to natural and artificial lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling, and even communication. The developments that are in the works to make this possible will provide the creative building designer with the tools necessary to better combine the functional and aesthetic objectives of architecture. The new glass products resulting from this development will surely play a prominent role in future architecture.
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