In many large, urban areas of Canada, most of the population lives in apartment buildings. In the downtown core of cities like Toronto, the proportion is up to 70 per cent. With the current trend to intensify urban areas to limit sprawl into surrounding valuable farmland, the proportion of high-rise multi-family dwellers is expected to increase.
One of the strategies employed by architects to increase (or regain lost) glazing area to meet the performance objectives of building energy codes and standards involves using established building envelope elements such as window louvres, fins, and shelves, along with emerging technologies such as vacuum-insulated glazing and panels (VIGs) and electrochromic (EC) glass.
Watertight façades are critical for the longevity and durability of any building, especially in damp, coastal climates. Water, snow, and wind can cause premature failures of building enclosures and multi-layer façade systems—such as rainscreen assemblies—have been proven highly effective in controlling water infiltration into the building.
For decades, the words ‘design flexibility’ and ‘fire-rated glass’ would not have appeared in the same sentence. Traditional polished wired glass was the only glazing material permitted in fire-rated areas. Its network of wires holds together broken glass during a fire to slow the spread of flames and smoke longer than was previously possible with other available glazing products.
The trend to maximize the harnessing of natural daylight combined with environmentally responsible artificial lighting is increasing use of glass within interior spaces since it allows light to spread throughout the building. Glass also has the added benefit of providing clear vision between spaces, creating a sense of openness, connectivity, and security. However, what about separations or partitions that must meet fire-rated requirements?
The capabilities of laminated glass performance have expanded thanks to the introduction of stiff, structural polymer interlayers. This means reduced overall pane thickness and weight, improved durability of exposed laminate edges in exterior applications, and better post-glass breakage performance in minimally supported glazing systems.
For more than 700 years, stained glass has added a colourful glow in structures around the world. From the windows of centuries-old European cathedrals to the Tiffany-coloured creations found in some of North America’s most iconic structures, stained glass has had a rich architectural history.
When looking at its skyline, it is no wonder why Vancouver is known as the “City of Glass.” Glass high-rise buildings, each one taller than the next, have been the architectural vision developed over many years (Figure 1). In fact, the relationship between West Coast architecture and glazing systems is symbiotic; their evolution would not have been possible without one another.