Crystal House With All Glass

We like to stay at home, but we also love sunlight. To capture our daily sunlight, many architects want to incorporate glass facades.

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But although they usually consist of windows, it is also possible to build from glass stones, such as the famous example of the Crystal House in Amsterdam, which built the MVRDV. At Material Xperience, which takes place from 6 to 10 February 2017 in Jaarbeurs Utrecht (NL), you will see a mock-up of this facade in real life!

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The completely transparent façade of the top flagship store on Amsterdam’s main shopping street, PC Hooftstraat, uses glass bricks, glass window frames and glass architects to preserve the character of the place. 620 square meters of retail and 220 square meters of housing combine Amsterdam’s ambitions with large unique flagship stores without compromising the historical group.

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Glass bricks lift the front of the Crystal Houses, which has eventually been transformed into a traditional terracotta brick facade for the apartments (as outlined by the city’s aesthetic rules), which are seen hovering above the store floor.

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The façade of Crystal House mimics the traditional brick construction, except that the bricks form walls, architects, frames and window sills, instead of being made entirely of glass. The process of building the facade was also impressive and attracted the talents of between six and ten craftsmen a year.

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Using the glass bricks produced by glass manufacturer Poesia in Venice, MVRDV, in collaboration with Delft University of Technology, the consulting firm ABT and the supplier Wessels Zeist, has developed a completely new “brick construction” technique.

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Instead of traditional cement mortar, this new type of construction method uses a kind of transparent glue. Like the glue used by dentists, the glue sticks between the bricks when exposed to UV lamps. Packing each brick requires more than an hour in a work environment, which MVRDV describes as “more laboratory than construction site.”

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