Return of Glass Block Architecture Trend, Curated by Yellowtrace.

Bricks Decoded: #YellowtracexBrickworks Content Partnership

 

Go on. Admit it. The thought of glass blocks probably makes you shudder. Unless you fall into the 5%* category of new generation designers who have already embraced the potential of this highly misunderstood and marginalised building material. (*btw, this statistic is entirely subjective and quite probably completely inaccurate – just sayin’!)

This versatile construction staple was introduced to commercial architecture nearly 100 years ago, and since then it became widely used by renowned architects around the world in the creation of iconic buildings. Alas, throughout the late 70s and early 80s, glass block was mocked and ridiculed, having fallen prey to ill use by average architects, and various dicky applications on shoddy ‘feature walls’. Excuse me ‘average architects’ and/ or propagators of said ‘feature walls’ (excuse me while I go vom under my desk for a second) – why did you have to mess it up for everyone, and do a disservice to the poor old glass block? This delicate material is capable of producing the sweetest of results in the hands of masters, but the minute it is used incorrectly, it becomes instantly cringe-worthy – much like make-up, hairspray, shoulder pads and flavours like salt and vinegar, I suppose.

Anyway!

Glass blocks, or glass bricks as they are also widely referred to, date back to the late 1880s when they were produced in squares and hexagonal shapes by Swiss Architect & Engineer Gustave Falconnier. In the 1930’s, further development of machine production created more advanced types of glass bricks which became easier to work with. Designed to be laid in the traditional style of masonry, glass blocks quickly became known for their ground-breaking qualities. This adaptable, modular and thermally stable material allowed for the flow of light without sacrificing privacy. Jackpot.

Glass blocks quickly caught the attention of various modernist architects. Pierre Chareau famously used it in the design of his 1932 masterpiece La Maison de Verre (House of Glass) in Paris, conceived as an illuminated box that until this day symbolizes architecture before its time.

In the late 90s, French luxury brand Hermès enlisted the of-the-moment prolific architect Renzo Piano to create their iconic 10-story Tokyo’s Ginza headquarters, constructed of 13,000 bespoke square glass blocks.

Fast forward to 2016, and another French fashion brand CHANEL commissioned MVRDV to design their flagship store in Amsterdam, which saw the architects replace the original brick facade of a former townhouse with glass blocks, utilising cutting-edge glass technology.

There have, of course, been many other less dramatic but equally interesting projects in both commercial and residential sectors of late, which have heralded the comeback of this oft-misunderstood material.

Today we explore the finest examples of glass bricks in contemporary architecture and interiors, as well as paying homage to the handful of design classics. While ranging in application, scale and type of glass blocks utilised, each project presented here has been selected on its merit for delivering soaring visual statements that celebrate the goodness of good ol’ glass blocks. Hallelujah!

 

Poesia Glass Bricks from Brickworks | Yellowtrace

Poesia Glass Bricks from Brickworks | Yellowtrace


Poesia Glass Bricks from Brickworks.

 

And whilst we’re at it, our friends at Brickworks have just launched a lust-worthy collection of Glass Bricks called Poesia, Australia’s first crystal-clear glass brick collection. Drawing on the fine quality, craft traditions and refined beauty of Italian glass-making, Austral Bricks’ Poesia transforms Italy’s famous Murano glass-making techniques into high-quality clear glass bricks available in a standard format (230 mm x 110 mm x 76 mm). The collection offers three elegant finishes (natural, polished and frosted) and five delicious colourways (Arctic Crystal, Aqua Marine, Blue Sapphire, Golden Amber and Smokey Quartz). Yummo!

 

Related:
Curved Brick Buildings.
Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Breeze Block.
Miniature City Created From Bricks By Matteo Mezzadri.

 

 

GLASS BLOCK ARCHITECTURE.
Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP01 | Yellowtrace

Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP01 | Yellowtrace

Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP01 | Yellowtrace

Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP01 | Yellowtrace

Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP01 | Yellowtrace

Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP01 | Yellowtrace
Optical Glass House in Hiroshima, Japan by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. Photography by Nacasa & Partners. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Jaw-dropping Crystal Facade of CHANEL Amsterdam Flagship Store by MRDV | Yellowtrace

Chanel Crystal Houses by MVRDV | Yellowtrace

Jaw-dropping Crystal Facade of CHANEL Amsterdam Flagship Store by MRDV | Yellowtrace

Jaw-dropping Crystal Facade of CHANEL Amsterdam Flagship Store by MRDV | Yellowtrace


Crystal Facade of CHANEL Amsterdam Flagship Store by MVRDV. Photography by Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

PORTS 1961 Shangai Store by UUFIE | Yellowtrace

PORTS 1961 Shangai Store by UUFIE | Yellowtrace

PORTS 1961 Shangai Store by UUFIE | Yellowtrace

PORTS 1961 Shangai Store by UUFIE | Yellowtrace
PORTS 1961’s Shanghai Store by UUFIE. Photography © Shengliang Su. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Leitao 653 by Triptyque | Yellowtrace

Leitao 653 by Triptyque | Yellowtrace

Leitao 653 by Triptyque | Yellowtrace
Leitao 653 in Brazil by Triptyque. Photography by Leonardo Finotti. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Facade Renovation for No 8 Building by Atelier Archmixing | Yellowtrace

Facade Renovation for No 8 Building by Atelier Archmixing | Yellowtrace

Facade Renovation for No 8 Building by Atelier Archmixing | Yellowtrace
Façade Renovation for No.8 Building in China by Atelier Archmixing. Photography by Tang Yu.

 

Seashore Library Vector Architects | Yellowtrace

Seashore Library by Vector Architects | Yellowtrace

Seashore Library by Vector Architects | Yellowtrace

Seashore Library Vector Architects | Yellowtrace
Seashore Library in China by Vector Architects. Photography by He Bin, Su Shengliang, Xia Zh & Sun Dongping. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Courtyard Hybrid by Vector Architects in Beijing, China | Yellowtrace

Courtyard Hybrid by Vector Architects in Beijing, China | Yellowtrace

Courtyard Hybrid by Vector Architects in Beijing, China | Yellowtrace

Courtyard Hybrid by Vector Architects in Beijing, China | Yellowtrace

Courtyard Hybrid by Vector Architects in Beijing, China | Yellowtrace

Courtyard Hybrid by Vector Architects in Beijing, China | Yellowtrace
Courtyard Hybrid in Beijing, China by Vector Architects. Photography by XIA ZHI.

 

GLASS BLOCK INTERIORS.

BEI Function Space by Neri&Hu Design & Research Office | Yellowtrace

BEI Function Space by Neri&Hu Design & Research Office | Yellowtrace

BEI Function Space by Neri&Hu Design & Research Office | Yellowtrace

BEI Function Space by Neri&Hu Design & Research Office | Yellowtrace
BEI Function Space in Beijing, China by Neri&Hu Design & Research Office. 

 

Byredo's New York Store by Christian Hallerod | Yellowtrace

Byredo's New York Store by Christian Hallerod | Yellowtrace
Byredo’s New York Store by Christian Hallerod.

 

LIFEwithBIRD Store in Sydney's Bondi Junction by Studio Wonder | Yellowtrace

LIFEwithBIRD Store in Sydney's Bondi Junction by Studio Wonder | Yellowtrace

LIFEwithBIRD Store in Sydney's Bondi Junction by Studio Wonder | Yellowtrace
LIFEwithBIRD Store in Sydney’s Bondi Junction by Studio Wonder. Photography by Tatjana Plitt. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Riviera Bar by Studio MK27 | Yellowtrace

Riviera Bar by Studio MK27 | Yellowtrace

Riviera Bar by Studio MK27 | Yellowtrace
Riviera Bar in São Paulo, Brazil by Studio MK27. Photography by Rômulo Fialdini. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Collective Design 2018 VIP Lounge designed by LOT & Objects of Common Interest | Yellowtrace
Collective Design 2018 VIP Lounge Designed by Objects of Common Interest & LOT Office for Architecture.

 

Studio11 Office in Minsk, Belarus | Yellowtrace

Studio11 Office in Minsk, Belarus | Yellowtrace
Studio11 Design Their Own Office Space in Minsk, Belarus. Photography by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Airbnb Flagship Office San Francisco | Yellowtrace

Airbnb Flagship Office San Francisco | Yellowtrace

Airbnb Flagship Office San Francisco | Yellowtrace

Airbnb Flagship Office San Francisco | Yellowtrace
Airbnb Flagship Office in San Francisco. Photography by Mariko Reed.

 

Jingyuan No. 22 Coworking Office in Beijing by C+ architects | Yellowtrace

Jingyuan No. 22 Coworking Office in Beijing by C+ architects | Yellowtrace
Jingyuan No. 22 Coworking Office in Beijing, China by C+ architects. Photography by Xia Zhi. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Zhongshu Bookstore in Suzhou, China | Yellowtrace

Zhongshu Bookstore in Suzhou, China | Yellowtrace
Zhongshu Bookstore in Suzhou, China by Wutopia Lab.

 

Nursery School Pamplona by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Nursery School Pamplona by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Nursery School Pamplona by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace
Nursery School in Pamplona, Spain by Pereda Pérez Arquitectos.

 

Pinkie Ivanhoe by Biasol | Yellowtrace

Pinkie Ivanhoe by Biasol | Yellowtrace

Pinkie Ivanhoe by Biasol | Yellowtrace
Pinkie Cafe in Ivanhoe, Melbourne by Biasol. Photography by James Morgan.

 

Vizor Gaming Company HQ by STUDIO11 in Minsk, Belarus | Yellowtrace

Vizor Gaming Company HQ by STUDIO11 in Minsk, Belarus | Yellowtrace

Vizor Gaming Company HQ by STUDIO11 in Minsk, Belarus | Yellowtrace

Vizor Gaming Company HQ by STUDIO11 in Minsk, Belarus | Yellowtrace
Vizor Gaming Company HQ in Minsk, Belarus by STUDIO11. Photography by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov. Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

GLASS BLOCK CLASSICS.

Amore Pacific Research & Design Center by Alvaro Siza Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Kyu | Yellowtrace

Maison Hermès in Tokyo, Japan by Renzo Piano (1998-2006) | Yellowtrace

Maison Hermès in Tokyo, Japan by Renzo Piano (1998-2006) | Yellowtrace

Maison Hermès in Tokyo, Japan by Renzo Piano (1998-2006) | Yellowtrace

Maison Hermès in Tokyo, Japan by Renzo Piano (1998-2006) | Yellowtrace
Maison Hermès in Tokyo, Japan by Renzo Piano (1998-2006).

 

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet, Image via catview | Yellowtrace

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet | Yellowtrace

Maison de Verre, Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet, Photography by Francois Halard | Yellowtrace


Maison de Verre Paris by Pierre Chareau + Bernard Bijvoet (1932). Read the full article about this project & see more images here.

 

Academy of Arts by Wiel Arets | Yellowtrace

Academy of Arts by Wiel Arets | Yellowtrace
Academy of Arts in Maastricht, The Netherlands by Wiel Arets Architects (1993). Photography by Jan Bitter.

 

Painted Apartment in Chicago by Krueck & Sexton | Yellowtrace

Painted Apartment in Chicago by Krueck & Sexton | Yellowtrace

Painted Apartment in Chicago by Krueck & Sexton | Yellowtrace

Painted Apartment in Chicago by Krueck & Sexton | Yellowtrace
Painted Apartment in Chicago by Krueck & Sexton (1983).

 

Le Prisme Concert Hall by Brisac Gonzalez Architects | Yellowtrace

Le Prisme Concert Hall by Brisac Gonzalez Architects | Yellowtrace

Le Prisme Concert Hall by Brisac Gonzalez Architects | Yellowtrace
Le Prisme Concert Hall in Aurillac, France by Brisac Gonzalez Architects (2007).

 

Amore Pacific Research & Design Center by Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Jyu | Yellowtrace

Amore Pacific Research & Design Center by Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Jyu | Yellowtrace

Amore Pacific Research & Design Center by Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Jyu | Yellowtrace

Amore Pacific Research & Design Center by Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Jyu | Yellowtrace
Amore Pacific Research & Design Center in South Korea by Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Jyu (2010). Photography by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG.

 

Ishihara House by Tadao Ando | Yellowtrace

Ishihara House by Tadao Ando | Yellowtrace

Ishihara House by Tadao Ando | Yellowtrace

Ishihara House by Tadao Ando | Yellowtrace

Ishihara House by Tadao Ando | Yellowtrace

Ishihara House by Tadao Ando | Yellowtrace
Ishihara House in Osaka, Japan by Tadao Ando (1977).

 

Bricks Decoded: #YellowtracexBrickworks Content Partnership

 

This Yellowtrace Promotion is proudly created in partnership with Brickworks. All related thoughts and ideas reflect our genuine opinion. Like everything we do at Yellowtrace, our sponsored content is carefully curated to maintain utmost relevance to our readers.

 


 

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